Martha L. (Metzger) Long, of Greenville, Ohio (100)

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Martha Louise Metzger Long was born at home on a farm in northern Indiana, January 4, 1923. She was the seventh of nine children. She died Saturday, January 21 at the age of 100.

When looking at Martha’s rich and full life, one is struck by several themes that were of constant importance to her.

One theme was Martha’s involvement with the Church of the Brethren. She was involved in the youth group. She taught Sunday School. She sang in the church choir for many years. She and her husband, Wilbur, were selected to be deacons at the Oakland Church of the Brethren and served on the Church Board.

Another theme was her love for learning. She was very eager to start school. So, though she was only five years old, she was allowed to go to the school about a mile and a half from her house. She went to this rural school through the fifth grade and then transferred to the elementary school in Sidney, Indiana, about four miles away. At the age of 18, she entered Manchester College—about four miles from home—in North Manchester, Indiana. She liked college. In her first year, she took courses in Latin, English, and history as well as botany and zoology. It was there that she met Wilbur (Red) Long. Red was a junior and staying on campus. One day, he and a couple of his buddies wanted to go to a concert in Fort Wayne, Indiana, about 35 miles away. His buddies suggested that he ask that Metzger girl who lived out of town to go with him. Wilbur did, drove out to the farm to pick Martha up for the date, and, as they say, the rest was history. Red passed away in 2007. Martha’s love of learning was expressed when she was asked by the principal at Versailles elementary school to teach some classes. She started teaching the sixth grade but the greater need at the time was for the fourth grade; so she then taught fourth grade science classes. She undertook several initiatives with her teaching by, for example,
bringing in a Petersime incubator to show the class the hatching of some chicks.
Martha was a voracious reader. And her mastery of the daily crossword puzzles was legendary.

Another theme was Martha’s love for travel. This started when she and Red decided to take the family camping. Initially camping was chosen as an economical way to travel. However, it soon became the preferred mode as the Longs together with their good friends Marj, Marvin, and Alan Petersime had some wonderful adventures camping throughout the United States.

In later years, Martha and Red made a trip to Europe as well as to Costa Rica, Hawaii and Alaska. And still later, Martha traveled with one or more of her children to Iceland, southern Africa, England and Wales. Perhaps the most prominent theme, however, was the importance of family. Coming from such a large family, she learned to appreciate both the diversity that can exist and the support that is important in a family.

Martha’s love of and commitment to family was maintained since those early years. We, her kids, have presented her with many challenges over the years. Each of us have explored our own directions and made our own choices. Sometimes those directions and choices might not have been the ones she would have chosen or made. However, as her family was very important to her, she strived to understand, sometimes accommodate, but always supported us.

In addition to her four children, Leslie (Lynn Lederer), Sylvia (Allen Hansen), Linda, and Krista (Robert Boellke), she had four grandchildren (Dulani, Suné, Vanessa and Tony) and eight great grandchildren (Ayler, Alma, Aaron, Uri, Ephraim, Ivan, Lavi and Leo). She was also a much loved and appreciated aunt to her many nieces and nephews.

A service will be held at the Oakland Church of the Brethren on Saturday, January 28, at 2 p.m. with Pastor Bob Bitner officiating. There will also be a private graveside service for the family. Arrangements have been entrusted to Zechar Bailey Funeral Home, Greenville, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Oakland Church Organ Repair Fund or to Heifer International. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.zecharbailey.com for the Long family.

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