Mr. Jay Kenneth “Papa Jay” Long, age 91, went to his heavenly home to be with his Lord and Savior on Dec. 2, 2020 at home surrounded by his loving family.
He was born on Aug. 3, 1929 in Spokane, Washington and was the oldest of three children. He was preceded in death by his parents, Mr. Arthur Loy Long and Mrs. Sadie Bell Young Long, as well as his brother Gary Long, and his sister Lilace Hamilton. He was also preceded in death by his first wife of 37 years, Ruby L. Taunton Long and grandchildren, Eric Champion and Jacqueline Dumay. Survivors include his beloved wife of 32 years, Mary Kathleen Pratt Long, daughters Karen Prince (Wesley) and Dianna Lynn Foxx, son Charles Champion (Renee), his grandchildren Robert Prince (Leah), Chris Champion, Amy Spraggins, Ashley McClain-Lyons (Julie), JT McClain (Maggie), Jeremy Prince (Mandy), Matthew Champion (Elan), Jonathan McClain (Jane), Kee McClain (Brooke), Travis Champion, and Alana Kathleen Cool (Brent). 19 Great-Grandchildren and 3 Great-Great Grandchildren.
Papa Jay was a retired CW-4 of the US Army. He served in the Vietnam War and helped develop the Hawk Missile System. He was a heavily decorated Vietnam War veteran who proudly and selflessly served his country. He traveled the world during his time in service and one of his favorite Active Duty Stations was in Germany. One of his favorite pastimes was recalling all of his war stories, the people he met through the military, and the places he visited during his years in service. He also was highly educated and considered himself a student for life as he regularly attended college courses throughout his military career. He was determined to keep his mind and memory sharp, often called a “walking almanac and encyclopedia”. He thoroughly enjoyed his crossword puzzles and sudoku and was an avid reader.
Papa Jay’s philosophy of life was to always pay it forward. He lived with an open hand and an open heart, constantly giving and expecting nothing in return except that we pay it forward as well. He always told us the 3 duties of every man were to worship God, be just to all men, and be willing to die for your country. Papa Jay did not have any natural born children but he always said “ I have 12 grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren, so don’t you think that’s pretty good for a man who didn’t have any children?” He adopted every single one of his wife, Mary Kathleen Long’s family members as his own and cherished them beyond measure. He told everyone who would listen just how proud he was of his family. They are his legacy and his walking trophies in life. In his final days he spent much of his time recounting their successes and triumphs, and said they were his victories as well. He made sure everyone he knew felt unconditional love and support. He prayed for every single family member by name daily. His walk with the Lord was unparalleled and he made sure to instill that faith in God into the heart of his family. He is greatly treasured and will be deeply missed.Visitation was held on Dec. 4 at Jeffcoat Funeral Home. Funeral Services were held at 11 a.m. on Dec. 5 in the Jeffcoat Funeral Chapel and was followed by a graveside service at Garden Hills Cemetery.