Willie C. Long, a community activist known for her work with Hartford's senior citizens, died Sunday at her Tower Avenue home. She was 86.
Long worked for the city's Department of Social Services until her retirement in 1985. But she was perhaps best known for her work with the North Hartford Seniors in Action, advocating for benefits for the state's older citizens.
"Hartford has suffered the loss of one of its most committed community activists," former Mayor Thirman Milner said Tuesday. "Mrs. Long will live long in the hearts of her descendants and friends for generations to come."
Long also was active in community affairs through O.N.E/C.H.A.N.E Inc. as its board's vice president, working for home ownership and the city's youth. She also is credited with being a key voice in fighting to clean up the landfill in the city's North End.
"Mrs. Long was a straight shooter who became the conscience of many city leaders who worked every day to find solutions to our city's problems," said Larry Charles Sr., former executive director of O.N.E./C.H.A.N.E. "Although she often spoke in a soft voice, Mrs. Long was always firm in her beliefs and unwavering in her values."
Long was born in 1921 in Moultrie, Ga., but moved to Connecticut when she was 2 years old. Her family then settled in Hartford, where she attended the Walter G. Camp School.
She leaves behind a daughter, Patricia Davis, of Hartford; a sister, Jewel McKinley of Florida; and several grandchildren. Her husband, Columbus Long, her sons Raymond and Arthur Long and her daughter Eleanor McPhearson died previously.
The date and time of Long's funeral have not yet been set. It will be held at Fuqua Funeral Services at 94 Granby St., Bloomfield.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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