Joe E. Long, 91, formerly of Columbia City, died Saturday, September 21, 2013, at Kindred Health Care Facility in Newark, Ohio.
He was born Feb. 10, 1922. in Avilla, a son of Milo and Rosetta V. (Rider) Long. He spent most of his life in Noble and Whitley counties and graduated from North Webster High School.
On April 26, 1942, he was united in marriage to Allene P. Cole and they just celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary this year.
On Oct. 17, 1942, he was inducted into the U.S. Army, serving in Europe during World War II. He served with the 149th Division of Army Engineers and landed in the first wave on Omaha Beach, D-Day. From there he fought in numerous battles and built and destroyed bridges for U.S. troop advancement into Germany. He received a Purple Heart for an injury incurred during battle. He was honorably discharged Nov. 18, 1945.
Joe and Allene raised three children in various locations from Pierceton to Larwill to Ligonier, and lived on their farm in Noble County until 1994 when they moved to their home in Columbia City. In March of 2012, for health reasons, they moved to Newark, Ohio near their daughter.
Joe was an avid athlete his whole life, who loved and watched all sports and especially enjoyed softball. His fondest memories included playing on a fast-pitch softball team with his two sons and coaching a little girls’ softball team. He took up golf in his 50s and was a regular at Crooked Lake in Columbia City. Joe was also a self-taught musician who enjoyed playing guitar and organ.
Joe was a farmer, a parts manager for Nighsonger’s Implement Store in Ligonier, which he later owned. He was also a custodian for West Noble School Corporation from 1979 until 1986.
His memberships include West Etna Community Church and American Legion Post #98.
Surviving relatives include his wife, Allene; two children, Tim A. (Beverly) Long of New Carlisle and Cheryl L. (William) Franks of Pataskala Ohio; seven grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and a brother, Roger L. (Bonita Jean) Long of Larwill.
He was preceded in death by a son, Danny J. Long, a brother, Howard Phillip Long and four siblings who died in childhood.
The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Smith & Sons Funeral Home, Columbia City. The visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 Tuesday at the funeral home.
The burial will be in Salem Cemetery in Wilmot with military honors presented.
Preferred memorials are to West Etna Community Church. Condolences may be sent www.smithandsonsfuneralhome.com .