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Columbia Missourian

IlaMae Long, 92, lived for family, loved animals

By Brandon Weiss
May 11, 2013 | 6:03 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — IlaMae Long always made sure everyone in her family had their favorite meals for the holidays.

"Every Christmas she'd have to fix it all," said Judy Owens, Mrs. Long's daughter.

Mrs. Long, 92, died Friday in Owens' Harrisburg home.

Mrs. Long lived for her family. She raised her children while her husband, Charley Lee Long, worked on the family's farm.

She met Charley Long in the 1930s. As a third grader, she told her mom there was a cute sixth-grade boy who had just moved to town. She married him in 1940. Their marriage lasted 60 years until his death in 2000.

"The world pretty much revolved around my dad," Owens said. "They had one of those relationships which was pretty rare."

Mrs. Long moved in with Owens more than three years ago when her health declined, Owens said. However, Mrs. Long didn't lose herself. She continued to care for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren until she died.

"She would play checkers and card games with them when we were busy," Owens said. "She was always babysitting."

In addition to raising a family, Mrs. Long enjoyed raising animals on her farm. She always had a pig or a lamb that she would care for, Owens said. She also kept chickens, turkeys, cats and dogs. The animals became part of the family.

"Her world was all about family," Owens said.

Mrs. Long was a homemaker for most of her life. She was an avid gardener and worked to preserve many of the foods raised on the farm.

Owens said that Mrs. Long's children and grandchildren plan to keep the farm. Many family members live close to the property. Two of Owens' children even built homes on the farm.

Outside the home, Mrs. Long attended beautician school and served as the family's barber, Owens said. She also acted as a part-time judge for a voting precinct in Woodlandville.

She was an active member of the Harrisburg Christian Church. Over the years she served as the secretary, taught Sunday and Bible schools, and was active in the women's club.

Mrs. Long is survived by her two children, Owens and Gary Long; six grandchildren, Morgan Long, Jason Long, Matthew Owens, Charlyn Crowley, Melissa Kiral and Michelle Schmidt; and eight great-granddaughters. All of them remain in the Harrisburg area. 

Mrs. Long was preceded in death by her husband Charley, a brother Nelson Stidham and a sister Betty Voorheis.

Visitation will be held 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at Nilson Funeral Home, 5611 East St. Charles Road. Funeral services will be held 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Harrisburg Christian Church, 201 E. Sexton St.