At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Life Story / Obituary
Walter J. Long - beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend to all - passed away peacefully Saturday, February 11, 2017 beside Gloriann, his wife of more than 61 years.
He was born July 12, 1928, into a loving family of 5 brothers and sisters. The same year Walter graduated from St. Peter’s Prep School, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps because in his own words, “They had the best reputation and were the toughest.” Never one to back down from a challenge, he toured the U.S. by motorcycle one summer during his college years, then hitchhiked his way all across Europe the following summer, including the Ireland of his ancestors. Walter truly explored the world and respected his Irish heritage.
His life was marked by service to others, beginning with a decision while in the 5th grade to sign on as an altar boy at St. Catherine’s Catholic School in his hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey. Walter was active at St. Francis de Sales Church in Holland for 50 years, serving as a lay minister and member of its Finance Committee. He served on the Holland Board of Public Works, and on behalf of United Way. Mr. Long spent six years earning degrees - a BA from St. Peter’s College and a master’s from Columbia University. He completed the General Electric Management training program in 1958 and retired as a Manager at GE Hermetic Motor Plant in Holland, Michigan.
As a well-traveled, well-read, and highly educated man, he was wise beyond his years. Walter had an East Coast influence that played into his role as a dedicated family man who exhibited consistency, loyalty, patience and kindness. He was always one to share a gumdrop with someone, especially his grandkids. His firm handshake, saddle shoes, good mornings, willingness to help, and the true love he showered upon Gloriann will be forever missed.
Walter was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers Reverend Arthur J. Long S.J., and Paul; and his sister, Ann Prather. In addition to wife Gloriann, Walter is survived by three children: Mary Miles of Richfield, Ohio; Terese Gilmore (Lamont) of Novi, Michigan; and Timothy Long (Kimberly) of Ada, Michigan; two sisters, Sr. Genevieve Marie Long O.P., and Ellen Long Carlin; and many nieces and nephews.
Walter was very proud of his nine grandchildren: Kerry, Molly and Matthew Miles; Erin Hawkins Nartker (Nathan) and Bryan Hawkins; and Emily, Abigail, Ellen and Jack Long.
Visitation will take place at St. Francis de Sales Church on Wednesday, February 15 from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., immediately followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at the same location at 1:00 p.m.
Memorial donations can be made to St. Francis de Sales Church at 195 West 13th St. Holland, Michigan 49423; or Van Andel Institute at 333 Bostwick Ave NE, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49503. The family was served by the Dykstra Funeral Home - Mulder Chapel. Please visit www.dykstrafuneralhome.com for more information.