George Long’s commitment to medicine was strong. But before he became a physician, his dedication to the Rolling Stones sent him catapulting over a six-foot wall, in cast up to his knee, and eventually landed him in a new cast.
It was 1975 when Long and his bosom buddies took a midnight road trip from Atlanta to Greensboro, N.C. to a general admission Stones’ concert. They wanted to be first in line so they could claim front-row seats, said Mike Egan, a friend since junior high school.
“When the gates opened, we wanted to be the first in, but George was lagging a bit behind because of the cast,” said Egan, who lives in Atlanta. “But he was not going to let that wall stop him from getting there. Of course when he jumped and landed, he cracked the cast open, and he had to go get that ankle reset, but after the concert when we got back to Atlanta,” he added with raucous laughter.
Long approached his medical practice with the same exuberance, said childhood friend, Tom Calk, of Atlanta. As a small boy, Long knew he would follow in the footsteps of his father, the grand-nephew and namesake of famed physician Crawford W. Long.
“I don’t think it is a stretch to say George idolized his dad, as did the rest of us,” Egan said. “He never had one moment of doubt about his career path.”
Thursday, seven days after memorializing his father and medical practice partner, George Dalton Long died suddenly of a suspected heart attack. He was 56. A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. Tuesday at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Atlanta.The Cremation Society of Georgia handled the arrangements.
After graduating from The Westminster Schools, Long truly went the way of his father and enrolled at Tulane University in New Orleans. When he finished his undergraduate and medical degrees, and his medical residency, in 1986, he joined his father at his OB/GYN practice in Atlanta, where he worked at the time of his death.
“He joked, a bit tongue-in-cheek of course, that his four years of undergrad and four years of medical school at Tulane were the longest 12 years of his life,” said Calk, who is a pediatrician. “But he loved the practice of medicine, and especially bringing life into the world.”
But as much as Long loved the practice of medicine, and the Stones, he loved his family and extended family more, Egan said.
“He had this booming voice, and cackling laughter, and when you heard either, or both, you knew George was in the room,” Egan said. “He was just someone you enjoyed being with.”
Calk said Long was an energizing presence for all who came in contact with him.
“George’s positive energy and enthusiasm about everything he approached was just his hallmark,” the pediatrician said. “He was bordering on ecstatic about some things, but that was just George. And you couldn’t help but be energized by him.”
Long is survived by his wife Debbie Allen Long; sons Crawford Williamson Long IV and Clarke Bradford Long; and sister Christi Long Ashworth.