James Stillman Long, age 82, passed away on Thursday, April 20, 2023, in Del Rio, Texas. James, or as most knew him, "Jim", was born on November 21, 1940, to Dorothy Belle Aderhold Long and Stillman Young Long, both of Del Rio, TX.
Growing up, he loved all things aviation and building model airplanes, history, specifically Texas, local and military history, fishing, hunting, and spending time on Lake Walk. He loved boating and, like his father, was an avid water skier and boater. Most of all, he loved spending time with his family; parents, grandparents, his cousins, friends, and his younger sister Mary Kay.
He attended Garfield Elementary, Del Rio Middle School, graduated from Del Rio High School in 1959, and went on to study at the University of Texas.
During 1963-65, he served in the U.S. Army with the Headquarters Detachment, 394th Transportation Battalion (Terminal). This period of service included four months in Southeast Asia, where he was located in the Command Center at Qui Nhon during the landing of the First Cavalry Division (Airmobile), and the Republic of Korea Capitol Division, Operations "Highland" and "Goodfriend."
A fifth-generation native of Del Rio, Jim was very proud of and dedicated to his hometown and his family’s legacy of military and community service. After returning to civilian life, he worked with his parents in the firm established in 1925 by his grandfather, former Del Rio mayor John Young Long.
Jim married Elina May in 1977, and they had two children, Katherine Elizabeth (b. 1979) and James Stillman Long II (b. 1981).
Jim firmly believed in faith, family, community, contribution, and service. He lived his life by those principles and the Golden Rule regardless of race, religion, creed or color, each and every day of his life. He was a private, caring, generous, and soft-spoken man with a huge heart who loved his family, history, Del Rio, Laughlin Air Force Base, and the storied 4080th Strategic Reconnesence Wing. Jim maintained his deep passion of history, old westerns, and country music, and always took the opportunity to read a good book, or study something new. He also continued to share his love of the outdoors, hunting, and fishing with friends and family throughout his life. Jim was a devoted follower of the Lord, son, brother, grandson, husband, father, and uncle who was just as proud of his two children as they were of him.
Jim always saw Del Rio as the oasis it was, is, and could further become. He hoped that one day Del Rio would become something akin to LaJintas as a destination for the outdoors, fishing, hunting, golf, and the vibrant culture that abounds in our sister cities. Jim was a proponent of the lake and was an instrumental advocate for the naming of and establishment of Lake Amistad Reservoir and Dam.
Beyond his family and years of service to his community, his proudest contribution was his part in the formation of The Laughlin Heritage Foundation (LHFM) in 1983 and subsequent museum to share and preserve Laughlin’s History.
LHFM is dedicated to highlighting Del Rio’s and LAFB’s place in history from the inception of Laughlin through the Bay of Pigs. His work to honor those U2 pilots who risked their lives and those that perished went even further through the planning and organization of an annual 4080th SRW reunion for pilots and their families to come together and share their stories. The latest was held in 2022.
Mr. Long was a 32-degree Master Mason with the following affiliations:
Member & Past Master of Val Verde Lodge #646
Member & Past District Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas Ancient Free and Accepted Masons
Member of Alzafar Shrine Temple in San Antonio
Member of San Angelo Knights Templer Commandery #28
Member of The Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Valley of San Antonio
Member Companion Knight of York Texian York Right College No. 60
Member - St. Anthony Red Cross of Constantine and Appendant Orders
Lifetime Member - The Royal Order of Scotland, the Provincial Grand Lodge, R.S.Y.C.S. and Provincial Grand Chapter, H.R.M. of K.L.W.N.G. of the United States of America
Member of the Order of Eastern Star Del Rio Chapter #204
Jim was also proud member of the the Del Rio Host Lion’s Club for 57 years, and from 76-77 served as district governor of Lions International District 2-A2, the second largest district of Texas, covering approximately 29,000 square miles. He was chairman of the board for the Southwest Texas Lions Eyebank, and a director of the Texas Lions League for Crippled Children, of which he had a life membership.
Jim Long held the title of president of the Del Rio Board of Realtors four times and director of the Texas Association of Realtors twice. He also served two terms as a director of the Del Rio Chamber of Commerce and held the office of vice-president twice, devoting his attention to economic development, tourist generation, and convention activity.
He was a Lay Delegate to the Southwest Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church for five years.
As an appointed city official, he was on the City Planning and Zoning board for three terms and was chairman of that body for two years.
An active supporter of air power, Jim was a life member of the Air Force Association and was vice-president of the AFA-Texas from 1976-81. He also continued his family’s passion for aviation and held a commercial pilot certificate with multi-engine land and instrument ratings.
Jim was from a long line of military patriots who fought in the Revolutionary War, the French and Indian War, the Battle of New Orleans, Civil War, Battle of San Jacinto, The Alamo, and so many others, as such he was a member of The Sons of the Republic of Texas, William Barrett Travis Chapter.
Mr. Long was a member of the Val Verde County Historical Commission and vice-chairman of that organization in 1984.
Jim is preceded in death by his parents, Stillman and Dorothy Long, and numerous cousins, aunts, and uncles, and he is survived by his daughter Katherine Elizabeth Long, his son, James Stillman Long II, his former wife, Elina M. Long, his sister Mary Kay Parker, and his niece Abby Parker Nachtway and her children; James is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews and their children.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in his name to: The Laughlin Heritage Foundation, Inc, IRC 501 (c)(3), P.O. Box 1348, Del Rio, TX 78841-1348.
A friends & family gathering will be held on Friday, April 28, 2023 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Trinity Chapel of Faith.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2023 at 10 a.m. at First United Methodist Church. Graveside services will be held at the Masonic Cemetery. Full military honors will be rendered by the United States Army and the Jesus M. Limones American Legion Honor Guard Post #595. The Masonic Burial Ritual will follow the military presentation.
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