Oren Long, Sr. died Friday evening from injuries suffered that afternoon in an automobile accident. He was 87 years old.
He is survived by his wife, Vera, five children, 13 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.
He lived a full life and one that for most of his life, was on his terms.
He described himself as “a Roosevelt Man,” and that definition defined what he termed his own “biases.” Dad was a man of ideas, constantly thinking, intellectually curious. Every book he read had multiple entries in the margins, noting a particular quote or idea that resonated with him.
He would often quote particular writers he felt captured an idea better than any other. Walter Lippman’s piece titled “The Indispensible Opposition” was one such piece — and the opening paragraph was often recited to me as a reminder to beware of those who flatter you, and to listen to and pray for the health of, those who have become your critics, “for they keep us on a path of reason and good sense.” I have reminded myself of that line for much of my life.
Dad truly loved an intense debate over issues — which sometimes led to a more intense version of partisan debate than what we now see in Washington. On that issue, he was ahead of his time. Several months before he died, a member of the family found a few notes he had jotted down and inadvertently left when it became compressed between pages in his water-soaked Cattle Journal.
It describes how he viewed himself — and how he would want to be remembered. You will find it below. It says it all — who he was and what he valued. We miss him more than words can possibly describe.
A gathering of friends and family will be held at 5 p.m. this Friday evening at the home of Colleen Long, 16901 Jackson Road, Valley Falls.
“The last testament to my life —the way I wish to be remembered…. my love of nature. What I regret leaving is my wonderful family, my farm, and the sound of classical music. I want my life to be more than a few empty facts, as meaningless statistics to say as all others listed on this page would wish to say of their lives.” —Oren Long
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