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Merritt C. Long

Merritt C. Long, 71, a longtime MatSu Valley businessman, died May 29 of Lou Gehrig's Disease while visiting friends in Sandstone, Minn.  A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at the Palmer Elks Lodge. The Rev. Elliott Hull, chaplain of the Palmer Volunteer Fire Association, will officiate. A reception will follow.

Mr. Long was born April 1, 1918, in Forest Lake, Minn. He was a 1938 graduate of Lincoln Town High School in Mahtomedi, Minn. Mr. Long was en route to his 51st high school class reunion when he died.  He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941, and served in the European Theater. He was stationed in England, North Africa, Italy and southern France. He received a medical discharge in 1945 at the rank of lieutenant.  Mr. Long attended the University of Minnesota and in 1950 drove to Alaska to visit his brother. He was employed by the Alaska Road Commission until 1952, when he went to the work at the Jonesville Coal Mine north of Palmer. He was employed there until the mine closed in the mid'60s. He also worked for Central Alaska Utilities in Anchorage and as a surveyor during the construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline. 

In 1961, he opened the Matanuska Valley Credit Bureau and Collection Service which he continued to operate until his death.  Mr. Long was a past president of the Palmer Kiwanis Club and recently received the Lifetime Member Award. He was a member and past president of the Valley Hospital Board and the Private Industry Council, and a longtime active member of the Democratic party.  He served as treasurer of Northland Pioneer Grange 1 and was a 20year member of the Palmer Volunteer Fire Department. He was also a previous member of the Palmer Ambulance Service. He was on the Palmer City Council and served on the Palmer Planning and Zoning Commission, most recently from 1984 until his resignation as chairman in 1988.

He was recently presented with the Mayor's Distinguished Service Award. He served on the MatSu Borough Board of Equalization and was a charter member and past president of the Alaska Collectors Association. He was also a member of the Elks and Moose lodges in Palmer.

He leaves his wife of 37 years, Phyllis, of Palmer; his children, Diana Long, Laurie Thomas and Kirke Long, all of Palmer, Jo Weller, of Big Sky, Mont., and Grace Long, of Columbus, Ind.; his brothers, Erwin, of Anchorage, Bruce, of Cottage Grove, Minn., and Orville, of Las Vegas, Nev.; and eight grandchildren.

Source:  Anchorage Daily News  3 June 1989



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