Jerome Herbert Long, 91, beloved husband for 63 years of Patricia Bush Long, died after a very brief illness on May 8, 2023.
Jerome was born the youngest child in a remarkable family in Little Rock, Arkansas, headed by his parents, Rev. Samuel Preston Long and Diamond Geneva Thompson Long. He was predeceased by his sisters Juanita Monts, Ernestine Washington, and Barbara Hill and his brothers Samuel, Lucius, Newton, Charles and Herman Long. He is survived by his wife Pat, his daughter Margaret "Gretchen" Long and her husband David Rossitter, his son Nathan Kellar-Long and his wife Beth, his grandchildren Thalia, Jacob and Leo Rossitter and Grace and Sam Kellar-Long, and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Jerome attended Dunbar High School and Dunbar Jr. College in Little Rock, where the segregated schools had meager resources but remarkable teachers. He earned his BA degree at Knox College and his BD, MA, and PhD at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He was an ordained American Baptist minister but decided to pursue a career in teaching. Jerome taught history of religions at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, for seven years and then in the Religion Department at Wesleyan University. At both universities he facilitated negotiations in the 1960's and 70's between the administration and Black students who were demanding changes in the curriculum.
Beginning during childhood, with four brothers fighting in WWII, Jerome was fascinated by military history and especially Blacks in the military. He was drafted in 1952 and served two years in the Army, mostly as a radioman in the Alps during the Cold War and Korean Conflict. He attended reunions of and became the historian of his brother Newton's award-winning all-Black 761st Tank Battalion. After Jerome interviewed veterans who had participated in President Eisenhower's placement of Black soldiers to serve in combat alongside White soldiers, he was often consulted as an expert on that early "Fifth Platoon" experiment in integration. He continued to research race relations and warfare right through the last week of his life.
After his retirement in 1999, he loved having an office at Wesleyan's Wasch Center for Retired Faculty. At Covenant Living of Cromwell and its nursing home, Pilgrim Manor, he made good friends. The family is grateful for the loving care he received at the Manor.
Jerome's favorite hobbies were reading and talking on the phone to family members and friends, old and new. He loved reading to Head Start kids at the YMCA, teaching Sunday school for children and adults at Cross Street Church and helping with first graders in Cromwell.
A memorial service will be held at Cross Street AME Zion Church in Middletown at 2:00 p.m. on May 25. A calling hour at the church will begin at 1:00, and a reception will follow the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Cross Street AME Zion Church, 440 West St., Middletown, CT 06457, or to Partners in Health.
To send condolences or access zoom link for service, please visit www.doolittlefuneralservice.com.
Thursday, May 25th @ 2:00 p.m.
Dr. Jerome H. Long’s Memorial Service
Dial-In Phone#: (929)205-6099
Meeting ID: 912 137 200
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