Baker City, Oregon
Zella Virginia Long, 70, died Aug. 11, 2006, at her home in Baker City.
Her funeral service will be held Friday at 11 a.m. at the LDS Church, 2625 Hughes Lane.
Interment will follow at Mount Hope Cemetery.
Virginia was born on April 15, 1936, in Baker City to Percy LaVon Wood and Zella Hemmert Wood. She was the fifth of six children, and always remained close to her sisters and brothers.
During her high school years, she loved to baby-sit her many nieces and nephews. After graduating from Baker High, she attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and later graduated with her teaching degree from Eastern Oregon University in La Grande.
She married Keith Randall Long on June 8, 1968. They met when Keith, an Oregon State Police officer, pulled her over on the highway. The rest was history. Keith was a devoted husband and she was grateful and appreciative of everything he did for her.
Her greatest love in life was her family, and especially her children and grandchildren. She was devoted to them, and visited them often. She was the glue that held the family together, and will be sorely missed.The family said, “We can still feel her presence and guidance among us.”
Her love for children carried over into her teaching career. She taught school for 28 years, the last 24 at South Baker Elementary as a first-grade teacher. Many students remember reading some of their first books in her old-fashioned bathtub filled with pillows. She always remembered each of her first-graders at the time of their high school graduation by sending them their first-grade class picture, a writing assignment she had saved, and $5.
She received the Oregon Teacher of the Year award along with many other teaching honors.
She was an active and faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and accepted many callings, including Relief Society president and many years as a much-loved primary teacher teaching children. She was always generous with her time and talents.
She is survived by her husband of 37 years, Keith Randall Long; her son, Mark Alan Long and his wife, Karen, of Salt Lake City; daughter, Malinda (Mindi) Ruth Gates and her husband, Kendale, of Salt Lake City; grandchildren, Megan and Melanie Long and Kendra, Keisha, and Alexis Gates, all of Salt Lake City; her brother, Paul LaVon and Cheren Wood of Salt Lake City; sisters, Ruth Boyd of Baker City and Helen Berg and her husband, Larry, of La Grande; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Percy and Zella Wood, her brothers, Loren and Wayne Wood, and her sister, MaryLu Wood.
Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of one’s choice that benefits children through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, August 22, 2006
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor