Rev. Fred Lambert
Minister of Music
FEBRUARY 17, 1941 – MARCH 9, 2021
Minister of Missions
Richard A. Long, Jr., 80, of Grand Junction, Colorado, died March 9, 2021 at St. Mary’s Hospital surrounded by family. He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Russell and Tiffany Long of Nashville, Tennessee; son and daughter-in-law, Gregory and Nadya Long of Garden Ridge, Texas; daughter and son-in-law, Amy Long-Markakis and Matt Markakis of Grand Junction, Colorado; grandchildren, Oliver, Milo and Fletcher Long of Nashville, Tennessee; Anna,Nicholas, and Katherine Long of Garden Ridge, Texas; Madison Long-Markakis, Isabella Long-Markakis and Levi, Julia, Luke, Brianna and Tessa Markakis of Grand Junction, Colorado.
Richard A. Long, Jr., or Richard Adam as he was known to his family, was born on February 17, 1941 in Portales, New Mexico, the son of late Richard Adam Long and Martha Lee Miller. He was the oldest of five siblings, Virginia Hutson of Lufkin, Texas; Joseph Long of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Olive Balla of Los Lunas, New Mexico and Ernest Long of Petaluma, California.
As soon as he was able to walk, Richard began pretending to fly. He made toy airplanes out of sticks and dreamed of one day soaring through the clouds. Richard attended high school in Gallup, New Mexico, and was so passionate about flying that he received his pilot’s license before his driver’s license.
While attending New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, Richard met Linda Faye Powell at a Baptist Student Union event and he quickly fell madly in love with the woman of his dreams.Their exciting life which included flying to picnics in small prop planes made it easy for her to fall in love with him. It’s no surprise that they married three months later on February 2, 1963.
Richard went to work for United Airlines in 1964 as one of their youngest hires where he worked his way up the ranks achieving the revered status of 747 Captain by the early 1980s. He flew the 747-400 around the world with regular stops in Sydney, Auckland, Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo and London and was awarded the Civilian Desert Shield and Desert Storm Medal in 1993 for flying troops to the Persian Gulf during the Gulf War.
After 37 years with United, he was fifth in seniority at the time, Richard retired. He showed no signs of slowing down as his love for flying led him to make multiple mission trips around the world to share the gospel. Richard received his Master of Divinity from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in 2012.
As a member of the Gideons International he spent several years working in Grand Junction’s jail ministry, and he continued to work with the organization until his death. Through it all, Richard loved his family and spent every available moment with his kids and grandkids.
Sadly, Richard succumbed to COVID-19 at 2:28pm on March 9, 2021. The family would like to thank the amazing doctors and nurses at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction for providing excellent care and making him comfortable during his final days.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Gideons International, Colorado Monument Camp, P.O. Box 3762, Grand Junction, CO 81502 or She Has A Name, 755 N. 4th Street., Grand Junction, CO 81501.