Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Joseph Hampton Long
Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Joseph Hampton Long passed away on November 10, 2018, surrounded by his family. He was predeceased by his first wife Martha Price
Long in 2000. Surviving are wife Joan Freeman Long and daughter Pattie Long Stephenson and husband Don.The pride of Joe’s life were his grandchildren Joe Stephenson and wife Sarah, Matthew Stephenson and wife Katie, Adam Stephenson and wife Jennifer and Anna Martha Stephenson Raborn and husband Ben. One of Joe’s greatest joys was to see all of his grandchildren married in 2014. He proudly wore his dress uniform to each wedding. Joe loved spending time with his five great-grandchildren, Peyton, Jackson, Samuel, Harry Charles, and Josephine Mae.
Joe was born in Ashe County, North Carolina on July 22, 1925, the 11th child of George and Flora Long. His early years were spent in Ashe County. Joe grew up and was educated at Barium Springs Home for Children. Upon graduation in 1943, Joe joined the Army Air Corps, and was accepted for pilot training. He was diverted to gunnery school and served on the B24 aircraft until 1946. After the War, Joe entered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating in 1950 with a BS in Commerce, and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Joe earned a Masters Degree in Industrial Management from the University of Colorado in 1963.
Upon graduation from UNC, Joe entered pilot training and commenced his beloved career. He served 14 years with the Strategic Air Command (SAC), including flying B29 support during the Korean War. Joe was a valuable and knowledgeable instructor with SAC, with experience flying the B29, B47, B50 and B52. In 1967, Joe volunteered for service in Vietnam, serving as a forward air controller. Upon returning, he was assigned to the Military Airlift Command (MAC) and flew the C141 in support of the war. From 19681972 he flew hundreds of troop support missions to Vietnam and Air Evacuation missions back to the United States. Joe felt so honored to be entrusted with bringing our wounded warriors home. Joe flew over 10,000 hours with never a close call. His military career concluded with a two year assignment with the Joint Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG) where he helped modernize the Korean Military Forces.
During his distinguished 35 year career, Joe was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, eight Air Medals, one Joint Service Commendation Medal and two Air Force Commendation Medals. Many years after retirement, Joe and his son-in-law took his youngest grandson to Wright Patterson Air Force Base to tour the airplane collection there. It took an entire day to go through each of the different planes that Joe flew during his career
After retiring from the Air Force, he spent many years volunteering his time with The Military Officers Association of America, working tirelessly to secure and protect the benefits of military active duty, retired military and National Guard. For five years Joe served as a tutor/mentor for first and second grade students at risk of failure through a program at his church called Koala.
In 1946, Joe married his childhood sweetheart, Martha Price Long. They enjoyed the adventures of his early career, living all over the country, including Alaska. In 1958, their only child, Pattie, was born. The three of them lived all over the world, including Greece and Korea.
Joe loved taking Pattie down to the Flight Line and even let her sit on his lap during one flight.
Joe showed great love and devotion, as he cared for Martha during her final illness. They had been married 54 years when she passed away.
Having spent some of his formative years at Barium Springs Presbyterian Home for Children, Joe knew how important family is and valued his family life. Joe was blessed to have two wonderful marriages in his lifetime. After moving to Cary in 2003, he met Joan Freeman Shaw at the community mailbox. They were married in December of 2004. With this union, two families were joined and strengthened. Joe loved Joan’s children Monty Shaw and wife Diane, Vann Shaw, Myra Peterson and husband John, and David Shaw and wife Mary, and embraced having them become a part of his life. Also added to his family were grandchildren Whitney Wagoner and husband Evan, Rebecca Smith and husband Byron, Chris Shaw, David Shaw, Michael Shaw and John Peterson. Through this union two more great-grandchildren were added, Henry and Ben.
Joe was a caring and positive man, a loving and proud husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was devoted to his family, his country and to helping others.
Visitation will be on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at Searstone Retirement Community, 17001 SearStone Drive, Cary, North Carolina at 7 PM. A memorial service will be held Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 11 AM at the Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church, 200 High Meadow Drive, Cary, North Carolina, where Joe was a member.
Memorials can be made to Barium Springs Home for Children, Post Office Box 1, Barium Springs, NC 28010 or Transitions LifeCare, 250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, NC 27607.