Lawrence Carlyle “Larry” Long, chairman of the Columbia County Board of Elections, died Monday afternoon, April 29. He was 79.
Long, the Republican appointee on the three-member board, passed away at University Hospital a week after undergoing heart surgery, said his wife of 52 years, Faye Marie Davis Long.
“It was all such a shock,” she said. “It just came up suddenly.”
Funeral services were held Friday at Platts Funeral Home in Evans.
“We’re all deeply saddened,” said Neal Johnson, the board’s Democratic appointee. “We’ve grown quite close. He was a dear and close friend.”
A Martinez resident, Long had served 12 years on the board. In recent months its members had dealt with the challenges of replacing long-time elections director Deborah Marshall, who retired after brain surgery, and in fighting proposed legislation that would have changed the way board members are appointed.
“While he was the Republican Party appointee to our board, he took representing the whole county and all voters very seriously, making sure fair representation was available to all the voters,” said Nancy Gay, who Long and the board recently promoted to fill Marshall’s vacancy. “He truly loved what he did. I know I will miss him.”
Despite the board’s recent difficulties, “he didn’t grumble or complain,” Mrs. Long said. “He just did what he thought he needed to do and what was best for whatever group he was working with, in this case the Board of Elections.”
A native of Ohio, Long was a graduate of Ohio University with a degree in chemical engineering. He served as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, rising to the rank of captain, and later served in the Air Force Reserves.
Long moved to the Augusta area in 1959, where he worked for Thermal Ceramics for 41 years until his retirement. He attended Augusta Old Line Primitive Baptist Church in Martinez.
In addition to Mrs. Long, he is survived by three sons and four grandsons, along with two brothers and three sisters.
“What a special guy he was,” Mrs. Long said. “I don’t know how to describe how wonderful he was or put it into words. He just liked everybody, and didn’t have bad words to say about anybody.
“He was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather, and I think I can add friend.”
Memorials may be made to Augusta Old Line Primitive Baptist Church, 3646 Old Petersburg Road, Martinez, GA 30907.