Hoyt Mills Long '53

Hoyt Long died January 1, 2008, in Laurel, MS, where his daughter, Marty, had moved him from his home of forty-plus years in Summerville, SC, as he struggled with atrial fibrillation and chronic pulmonary problems.  Though he had been doing well, he suffered a massive stroke, a surprise knockout blow after many no-surprise preliminaries. A well-attended memorial service was held February 2, 2008, in Summerville with family and friends coming from as far away as Seattle.

It was merciful that he died near the daughter he was so proud of.  Hoyt never remarried after losing his wife, Brenda Zapf Long, to lupus in 1974.  In his mind, his greatest “claim to fame” from that time was Marty—Dr. Martha Long Ewing—a renowned poultry veterinarian, championship runner, and mother of his two grandchildren, Hank and Steven Ewing of Ellisville, MS.  After his retirement from Lockheed in 1989, he religiously visited Marty through her career moves and his sister, Lucia Long Schwarz, in Bethel, ME. He also traveled widely throughout the world—including trips to Antarctica, Alaska, most of Europe, New Zealand, and the Panama Canal.

Hoyt was one of eight of us in Amherst ’53 from the class of 1949 at Nichols School in Buffalo:  Mal Brown (transferred to Amherst after a year at Haverford), Dick Cutting, Bob Dillon, Bill Kibler (died 1983), Hoyt, Phil Ransom, Dick Wakefield, and Mark Weber. Dick Cutting and Hoyt were classmates from 1936 at the School of Practice in Buffalo. Several of us stayed close to Hoyt and enjoyed time with him by phone and at Reunions. Dick Wakefield rode his motorcycle from the Buffalo area just to visit him in Summerville one year.

His career was serendipitous, full of connections. After Amherst, he went to US Navy OCS, finishing his tour November 1956. He then took a casting operations foreman job at the massive Bethlehem Steel facility near Buffalo, where he had worked in summer jobs while at Amherst. He and Brenda Zapf of Buffalo married in late 1956, and Marty was born in 1958. He then signed on in 1961 for another US Navy tour, when he was largely responsible for the security of a Lockheed Polaris missile transportable only by ship. He, Brenda, and Marty were stationed for several months at a US Navy base in Holy Loch, Scotland. He left the US Navy in 1964 to join Lockheed Missile & Space Company (Polaris Missile Facility) in Charleston, SC, where he spent his whole career as an operations planner until retiring in 1989.

Some may say Hoyt became a very conservative guy after losing his wife in 1974.  There was a palpable tristesse at our 25th Amherst Reunion in 1978. He became somewhat self-effacing over time, noting in a Nichols 50th reunion booklet that “my dossier would read like a very dull and mundane history of an ordinary twentieth century life.” Not so. He certainly wasn’t conservative at Amherst, where his sense of humor and adventure were much in play.  In retirement, he nourished his soul his way—always learning, always observing, an avid reader and volunteer worker, a true lover of dogs, a most loyal family member, and friend. He freely traveled the US and world on intriguing trips. Impish to the end, he drove his 2001 turbocharged VW Beetle at well over 100 miles an hour on occasion. That was part of Hoyt’s spirit.

—Richard W. Cutting ’53
—Philip W. Ransom, Jr. ’53

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