New York State Conservative Party leader Michael Long dies at 82

New York State Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long died on July 24./ Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Former New York State Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long has died, the party announced Sunday. He was 82 years old.

With a career that stretched over half a century, Long will leave a gaping hole in the party from which he served and many longtime friends behind.

“The loss of Mike Long is immeasurable. We have lost a good man, a close friend, mentor and outstanding political leader; a void for me and many has been created that cannot be filled,” State Chairman Gerard Kassar said. “The countless number of people who learned from Mike can today be found throughout the political world and will act as his legacy for many years to come.”

Long began his extensive tenure in 1968 as District Leader before swiftly climbing the political ladder to Chairman of the Kings County Conservative Party in 1972. Just over one decade later in 1984, he was elected by his colleagues as State Vice-Chairman. According to those who knew him, this meteoric rise showcased Long’s intelligence and affable nature, which in 1988, propelled him to the position of State Chairman of the party.

Long also served as Chairman of Community School Board 19 in East New York and in 2010, the ACU awarded the larger-than-life figure with “The Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award. He was proud of his Irish Heritage and was a regular participant at the Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Long leaves behind his beloved wife, Eileen with whom he would have celebrated their 59th anniversary in May. Long was also the proud father of nine children, twenty-five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.