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Thursday, September 9, 2021

Obituary - William “Bill” Long

William “Bill” Long, age 86, peacefully passed away on Wednesday, September 1, 2021 at his home in Kansas City, Missouri. Bill’s Funeral service will be held on 10 September 2021, Friday, at 2:00 PM at Vansant-Mills Chapel, 314 West Jefferson Street, Clinton, MO, which will include a Masonic funeral ceremony. 

Funeral Visitation will be from 1:00-2:00 PM prior to the service. His Burial to follow in Blairstown Cemetery, Blairstown, MO, which will include a USMC funeral Flag presentation ceremony. His 2 Marine grandsons will wear their dress blues to honor their grandfather-Semper Fi Marine. The family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Marine Corps Assistance League and can be left in care of the funeral home. Fond memories and condolences can be left online at www.vansant-millsfuneralhome.com

Bill’s childhood was spent growing up on a country farm with his parents Wahneeta and Robert Long and his 2 sisters Wanda and Fleeta. So after his adult kids left home, he and Joanne bought 2 different houses with 10 acres each in the country so he could raise small herds of cattle, drive his old John Deere tractor, have a garden, and fish in his pond whenever he wanted or let his grandkids feed the huge catfish.

Bill’s life was completely centered around his childhood friend and devoted wife Joanne whom he was married to for over 65 years; his 2 children: daughter Kristie Long-Evans (husband Jim Evans) of Liberty, MO, and son Bobby Long (wife Rajie Rely Long) of Alexandria, VA; his 6 grandchildren: Kristine Carpenter (husband Tom) of Pittsburg, PA; Jennifer Blaylock (husband Kyle) of San Angelo, TX; William C. Long of Alexandria, VA; Boone Evans of Alexandria, VA; CPL Kristopher Evans, USMC, of Jacksonville, NC; and Bo Evans of Liberty, MO; his 3 great grandchildren: Gabe Long, Jace Blaylock, and Liam Carpenter; his family and friends; the USMC (Once a Marine, Always a Marine); his house with 10 acres which served as his “outdoor playground”; his 1952 John Deere Tractor; his truck “old blue”; being a “ gentleman farmer” raising a small herd of cattle and haying his property with his John D., and his boat—in that order.

After graduating from Central High School, KCMO, Bill enlisted in the USMC. He is a USMC Veteran (SSG rank) with 10 years of service as an aviation mechanic, MOS helicopters but worked on fighter jets too. After the Marines, Bill AKA “Sweet William”, went to work at Howard Hughes’ TWA for over 34 years starting as a welder, then an AMP licensed aviation mechanic, until retiring as an Inspector.

Bill was one of the strongest men alive both physically and mentally; always determined to “get er done”. Bill miraculously survived 2 major strokes forcing him to retire from TWA. After that Bill and Joanne bought a trailer in Apache Junction Senior Resort, AZ, where they spent their winters with their longtime friends for several years until his health issues forced them to sell their trailer and their house with 10 acres and move into a senior independent living apartment and later an assisted living apartment.

Anyone that talked to Bill knew he was a walking book of jokes; he always had 1 or 2 funny jokes to tell someone or an “old time” story which always put a smile on People’s faces.

His grandkids fondly remembered grandpa always carried peppermint candies in his pocket for them and a few for himself. He had a sweet tooth. Grandpa always taught the grandkids his 2 rules: “there is always room for jello” after dinner and “pie for breakfast was ok as long as it was a fruit pie!”

In Bill’s later years, he became known for his yummy pies that had perfect pie crust. His specialty pies were: gooseberry pie (he picked is own gooseberries), apple pie, and poor man’s pie.

Bill was an animal lover of all kinds owning and enjoying many beloved cats, dogs, calves and ducks over the years. If there was a stray cat or dog in the neighborhood, they found their way to his doorstep; some lucky ones even got adopted.

Bill had many interests that he always did with family and friends. One interest was camping, fishing, and boating. For over 2 decades he and Joanne camped every weekend in the summer on the same point at Lake Pom De Terre with 3 of their lifelong friends of over 50 years: the Gann family, the Hurst family, and the Bringus family. Together they boated, water skied, fished, and had “adult only” late night campfires. In the winter months when not camping together, they played cards with these friends every week while all the kids played. Bill and Joanne along with their friends for years square danced in the Do Si Doers Square Dance Club.

Bill had a big interest in music and had a large record collection. He loved sitting downstairs in his great grandpa Boone’s old smoking chair and listen to his music with JD. He loved Blue Grass music, folk music, country music mostly of the Grand Ole Opry era, and classical music. His favorite country artist was Hank Williams, Sr. who sang his favorite song, “Tennessee Waltz”. He also enjoyed occasionally strumming on his childhood guitar.

Another of Bill’s interest was traveling. Bill liked to travel by air, train or ship. He has traveled extensively in the US and to numerous countries all over the world with his family and friends visiting the Panama Canal Zone, Alaska, Hawaii, S. Korea, Japan, and most countries in Europe. However Bill and Joanne’s favorite vacations were the Cruise ship cruises going solo or with their lifelong friends, the Hursts, the Ganns, and the Clouses.

Bill and Joanne celebrated their 50th Golden Anniversary by renewing their wedding vows in front of over 60 friends and family, at the same Unity Church on the Plaza where they were married in 1956. It was a surprise celebration. From their home they rode in a stretch limo with all their family to the Church for the vow renewal ceremony but they thought they were going to a 5 star restaurant on the Plaza. The reception following the vow renewal ceremony had several photo displays covering their 50 plus years together. Joanne’s 1956 Belgian lace wedding dress and Bill’s 1956 USMC uniform were also on display. Even their 1956 original 4 tier wedding cake made by Joanne’s mother, a professional baker, was recreated for the vow renewal reception.

Bill was a Mason for 50 plus years. His lodge was the Masonic Temple Alpha Lodge #659 A.F. & A.M., NKC, MO. Bill’s son Bobby and grandson Boone are both Masons. Within days of his death, Bill’s grandson William from VA visited him. During that short visit, his grandson asked Bill to sign his Masonic application which he did; Bill’s last signature.

Bill was truly blessed with a loving and devoted wife of 65 years, his children, many grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren so far, and lifelong friends who they socialized with over 50 years. His life was blessed.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Vansant-Mills Funeral Home in Clinton, Missouri.