Jeffrey W. Long, a retired deputy director of the Baltimore County Department of Planning who was also a physical fitness advocate, died of cardiac arrest July 14 at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. The Towson resident was 63.
“Jeffrey probably just exemplifies what a county employee should be,” said Donald I. Mohler, former Baltimore County executive, who is now head of Mohler Communication Strategies and co-host of the podcast “Baltimore Positive.” “He always had a smile on his face and he truly tried to help people get to yes. He was one of the most positive and able individuals that you’d ever encounter.”
W. Carl Richards, who spent 54 1/2 years with Baltimore County government and retired last year as head of the county’s zoning department, was a longtime friend.
“Jeff was dedicated and detail-oriented. He would do anything for you and would stop what he was doing to help you out. He was a good worker and a friend to all who knew him,” Mr. Richards said. “He was the kind of person who found solutions to problems and that’s how you knew he was such a great guy.”
Jeffrey William Long, son of Harold E. “Flea” Long, a political aide to Baltimore County executives Donald P. Hutchinson, Dennis F. Rasmussen and Roger B. Hayden, and his wife, Louise D. Becker, an administrative assistant in the Baltimore County Office of Human Resources, was born in Baltimore and raised in Hillendale.
Mr. Long was a 1976 graduate of Parkville High School and he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Notre Dame University of Maryland, where he also was an adjunct professor of business and medical ethics and philosophy.
He began working for Baltimore County in 1979 as a maintenance worker for the Department of Recreation and Parks picking up trash, and a year later he became a clerk in Central Services where he was assigned to Vehicle Maintenance Operations. From 1981 to 1985, he was an environmental service aide in the Baltimore County Health Department.
In 1985, he joined the Baltimore County Zoning Department as a zoning inspector where he worked for four years before being hired as a planning and zoning associate in the county’s Department of Planning.
Mr. Long was a Planner 1, 2, and 3, until being named a division chief. In 2004, he was appointed deputy director of the Baltimore County Department of Planning, a position he held until retiring in 2009.
“I came to the department in 1988 as deputy director and Jeff was just a fantastic guy with an incredible work ethic,” said Patrick Keller, former director of the Baltimore County Department of Planning, who retired in 2010.
“He did a great job as deputy director and worked with the development community. He also brought a lot of diversity to our office and he did a really good job,” he said. “He was dedicated to diversity and succeeded in bringing a lot of folks into our office who reflected the county’s racial and sexual profile. The Baltimore County Council was looking into this department by department and we exceeded it and that’s attributable to Jeff’s efforts.”
He said Mr. Long worked well with people.
“He was kind and outgoing when it came to the staff. He’d help them out when they had personal problems. He was a good counselor,” Mr. Keller said. “Jeff was a great person to have by your side.”
Said Mr. Mohler: “He just enjoyed people and he believed in making government work for the people.”
A resident of Greenbrier Road in Towson, he was “an avid runner who often completed a route to run past his Jefferson Avenue office and run in place while he spoke to colleagues,” said Amity Aldrich, his longtime domestic partner.
“Physical fitness was his passion,” Mr. Mohler said. “Even though he had retired from government, I’d see him in Towson and he’d stop his run and chat for a while.”
Mr. Long was also a weightlifter.
He enjoyed gardening, cooking and red wine, and in the past several months became “a margarita aficionado,” Ms. Aldrich said. He also was a classical music and opera buff and in his retirement liked spending ”abundant time at the beach, his favorite being Ocean City,” she said.
There will not be a formal service, according to Ms. Aldrich.
In addition to Ms. Aldrich, Mr. Long is survived by his daughter, Amanda Long Bull of Towson, and a sister, Janine E. Long Leckrone of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.