Thomas Francis Long
October 13, 1931 – July 10, 2019
Thomas Francis Long (Oct 13, 1931-July 10, 2019) was lifted up in the arms of Our Blessed Mother after a long, difficult struggle with kidney cancer. Tommy was born in Waterford City, Waterford, Ireland, the middle of fifteen children of Jim and Anastasia (Powers) Long.
Tommy left school in fourth grade to help support his family financially, and always credited his big hands and tremendous physical strength to the heavy labor he did in the meat packing plant in Waterford in his childhood. Even then he was known as someone always good for a laugh or funny story. He had a beautiful tenor voice and loved to imitate Al Jolson. Singing “Mammy” never failed to melt his mother’s heart.
At 18 years of age, he travelled to England where he worked for Bertram Mills Circus. The troupe travelled all over England and was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth and the royal family. In later years, Tom was known to regale his family with humorous stories about his life in the circus, particularly with his beloved elephants. During his time in England, he sent half of his earnings back to help support the family in Ireland, which he continued until the birth of his first child.
On one of his trips back to Ireland, he chanced to meet a young woman, Joan Roche, on the bus. He remarked to a friend of his, “I’m going to marry that girl.” And he did, despite the objections of his own parents and hers. They eloped to London, where their first four children were born.
Always a hard-working man, Tom developed his own business as a window washer. He could be found pedalling his bike through the busy London traffic with his ladder, bucket and other supplies hanging from his shoulder. Some of his clients included the Duke of Jellicoe and the young actors David McCallum and Jill Ireland.
In the early 1960s, Tom immigrated to the US with the support of his elder brother, Mike. His wife and children joined him the following year, settling in Ballard where their youngest and fifth child was born. Two years afterwards, Tom was faced with the difficult task of single parenting when his wife, Joan, passed away. Always the hard worker, Tommy took on three jobs to support his children, working in a number of nursing homes over the years. He also worked hard as an adult, since he was self-taught after 4th grade, to study for his American citizenship test, which he proudly passed in the bicentennial year, 1976.
Some years later, he was blessed to meet, fall in love with, and marry his dear wife Jean (Chaplin) Wilson. They shared many happy years together raising their blended family. They recently celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary. Upon Tom’s retirement, they traveled widely throughout the US, after which they relocated to the community at Green Acres, Canyon Park north of Bothell. Jeanie provided countless hours of tender care during Tom’s lengthy and painful illness.
Tom was a born entertainer, quick with a joke or funny story. He loved to dress up on St. Patrick’s Day, and sing in that delightful Irish tenor voice. One of the great joys of his life was his annual role as Santa. Over the 18 years he had this “job,” children often asked to have their picture taken with the “Irish Santa.” He had countless friends and acquaintances and anyone he met soon became his friend.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife, Joan (Siobhan) Roche, a number of his siblings (Stella, John, Jim, Martin, Josie Brown, Mae Smith, Bridey Glendon,and Angela (Charles) Nolan). His survivors include his wife, Jeanie, his remaining siblings Mike (Marian) Long of Kenmore, WA, Eileen O’Brien of Portland, OR, (Phyllis) Stasia Long of Ferrybank, Ireland, Theresa Furlong of Waterford, Ireland, Peggy Cross of Kodiak, AK, Eddie Long of Newport, OR, and his children Tony (Rosemary) of Yakima, Maria (Mike) Doyle of Bellingham, Martin (Claudia) of Everett, Tommy (Nancy) of Floresville, TX, and Tonia (Jon) Lucas of Snohomish, stepsons Bob (Lika) Wilson of Marysville, Paul (Trisha) Wilson of Port Susan, WA; plus numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
A memorial mass will be held at St. Brendan’s Catholic Church in Bothell, WA on July 26th, followed by interment at Holy Rood Cemetery, Seattle. The family requests that in lieu of flowers or gifts, donations may be made in Tom’s name to a charity of your choice.
We will all miss him very much, but are heartened to know the angelic choirs of heaven have gained a beautiful tenor voice.
Service of Remembrance
St. Brendan Catholic Church
10051 NE 195th St
- Final Resting Place