William H. Long, 89, Shavertown, passed away Friday, January 24, at his daughter’s home in Tunkhannock surrounded by family. He was preceded in death by his wife, Jean J. Johnson, who passed less than one month ago on December 28. Bill and Jean were born within two months of each other, started dating at age 15, and enjoyed 69 years of marriage, building a beautiful life together and for their daughters and extended family.
Born in Shavertown, Bill was the son of the late Vought H. and Ella LaBar Long. Bill graduated from Kingston Township High School, where he played football and began dating Jean. As a teenager, Bill worked at Hillside Farms in Shavertown. He also began volunteering with the Trucksville Fire Company—a commitment he continued for many years and included acting as president, mentoring many young men, and becoming a life-long member of the organization.
After high school, Bill served in the Navy Reserves and began working for Orchard Farm Dairy making ice cream and pasteurizing milk. He soon became manager of the Suburban Restaurant in Dallas, and in the early 1960s, was recruited as a salesman for Chicago-based Continental Coffee Company, which was looking to make a footprint in Wyoming Valley. He spent his entire career with this company, building its business in the area and beyond, earning bonuses and trips for himself and Jean, rising in management, and retiring as Vice President of the coffee division for the East Coast for Quaker Oats, which had acquired Continental. For a number of years after retirement, Bill continued to work as a coffee consultant for Quaker Oats, and until very recently, brokered coffee for Curry Donuts.
Soon after retiring, Bill spearheaded the Capital Campaign of the Trucksville United Methodist Church, serving as co-chair of the multi-million-dollar fund-raiser to construct an addition to the church’s educational building. As a 50-plus-year member of the church, Bill was active on numerous committees over the years and a keystone of the church’s chicken barbeque. Through the church, he was also active in the Back Mountain Food Pantry and Meals on Wheels.
A long-time Mason and Irem Temple Shriner, Bill joined the Shepherds Unit, volunteering to drive families to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia and Boston. He always had a great time making popcorn for the annual Shrine Circus.
Mostly, Bill relished time spent with family and friends. He enjoyed traveling with Jean and going on the annual family vacation. He also loved animals and was rarely without a dog, including his last days with his rescue dog Jewels. A big sports fan, Bill took special pleasure in following family and friends who played. He was also passionate about gardening and lawn work. A true people person, Bill “never met a stranger” and never refused to help anyone in some way.
In addition to his wife and parents, Bill was preceded in death by his son-in-law Jim DeSombre. Surviving are the couple’s 3 daughters—Bonnie DeSombre, Trumansburg, NY; Barbara Long, Langhorne; and Brenda McCauley (Rob), Tunkhannock; 4 grandchildren—Jason DeSombre (Kristin), Jeff DeSombre (Ashley), Kelly (Matt) Gilroy, and Megan McCauley (Holt Wiggans); 8 great grandchildren; brother Wayne Long (Diane), sister-in-law Ruthe Case (Don); and numerous special nieces, nephews and friends.
Funeral will be held, Wednesday, January 29, 2020, at 10:30 AM at the Trucksville United Methodist Church, 40 Knob Hill Road, Trucksville, Pa. 18708 with The Rev. Jay Jones, pastor, Trucksville United Methodist Church, officiating. Interment will be in Chapel Lawn Memorial Park, Dallas. Friends may call Tuesday, January 28, from 4:00 to 6:00 PM at The Richard H. Disque Funeral Home, 2940 Memorial Highway, Dallas, Pa. 18612 and again at the church on Wednesday from 9:30 AM until time of service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Shepherds Unit, 64 Ridgway Drive, Dallas, PA 18612; the Back Mountain Food Pantry, 40 Knob Hill Road, Shavertown, PA 18708; or a charity of choice.