Wendell Oliver Long passed away on Sunday, June 6th, 2016, from a sudden cerebral hemorrhage. He was eighty-five years of age.

Born in 1931 in Los Angeles, Wendell received a basketball scholarship from Loyola University, and graduated with a bachelor of arts in Education from the University of California Santa Barbara in 1956. He served in the US Army as a writer for the Military Police Journal. He then taught creative writing and coached basketball at San Dieguito High School in the north county of San Diego.

In 1980 Wendell relocated to Durango with his partner, Mary Ellen Long. Married in 1953, Wendell and Mary Ellen were each other’s inspiration—and the obvious joy of their relationship inspired many.

Wendell will be remembered as a well-loved manager at Durango Natural Foods in the 1980s and a fixture at countless events at the Durango Center for the Arts, where Mary Ellen serves as a member of the Advisory Board.

A long-time maestro at the Hillcrest Golf Club, Wendell was known for his playful sense of humor and clever one-liners. In his typical understated manner, he shot his age from his late 60s into his 80s. A generous friend and mentor, his care and conversation enriched the lives of countless students and friends.

Wendell was deeply proud of his family. He leaves behind Mary Ellen and two sons—Mark, a college professor in New Hampshire and Mitchell, a Los Angeles- based musician, daughter-in-law Rebecca Todd, and five grandchildren: Kaleb and Korin Stonacek, Zenos Karagas. and Nathaniel and Ellinore Todd Long.

A celebration of Wendell’s life is planned for Saturday, August 20th, in Durango.


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