One of Northwest Florida's most renowned business and civic leaders, Clifford Henry "Cliff" Long, went to his heavenly home on October 24, 2019 at the age of 93.
Born in Niceville, FL in 1926, Cliff married his teenage sweetheart Betty Jean Ridgeway, in 1946, and after Cliff graduated from Florida State University, they raised their sons, Richard Long, Douglas Long (Laura), and his daughter Lisa Long Troutman (Richard) in Fort Walton Beach. Later in his life, Cliff was blessed with four grandchildren Beverly Long, Amy Long, Cassie Long (Maynard), Elizabeth Troutman and great - granddaughter Alice Factor. Cliff was dearly loved by his family.
Besides loving his family, Cliff loved Fort Walton Beach. He devoted countless hours and energy to create a community where all citizens would be equally proud. Joining the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce in 1948, he attended their first meeting and was one of twelve Chamber members named as a Life Director. Always ready to serve, Cliff sat on many board of directors for commercial and civic organizations in his lifetime.
Of all Cliff's leadership roles over thirty years spanning 1989-2019, the one closest to his heart was the Chairmanship of the Emerald Coast Military Affairs Council, a position he continued to hold. The civilian and military relationship in North Florida thrived under Cliff's guidance and brought him the admiration and friendship of military leaders at the nation's highest levels. He often traveled to the Pentagon to participate in briefings with military officials. For 20 years, in conjunction with AFA's Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, he hosted dinners for senior Air Force leaders, including the SECAF, CSAF, and many MAJCOM commanders. His tireless service on behalf of Eglin Air Force Base earned Cliff numerous distinguished honors and awards including the Air Force Chief of Staff Award for Exceptional Public Service in 2011.
In addition to his civic contributions, Cliff Long enjoyed a well-deserved reputation as one of the most astute business leaders in North Florida. Cliff founded the Long Insurance Agency in 1950 and built it into one of the largest independent insurance agencies in the area. After selling the business in 1996, Cliff remained active in numerous real estate ventures. Each year, with his close friends Hervis Ward and Dr. Paul Hsu, he co-hosted an appreciation dinner for all law enforcement officers in the military and civilian community.
Cliff is remembered endearingly as a charming gentleman with a sense of humor, energetic and driven, a weekend farmer and he continued working at the office everyday. For over 50 years he and his wife served as ushers at First United Methodist Church. Cliff Long was a force of nature, a man who shaped Fort Walton Beach, loved his family, and lived a very full life in service to others. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and his community.
If anyone would like to make a donation in memory of Cliff, it can be made to the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast, 350 Boatner Road, Eglin AFB, FL 32542, or a charity of your choice.
The family of Cliff Long invites you to join them at a Celebration of Life at Village Baptist Church, 101 Matthew Blvd., Destin, FL, Thursday October 31, 2019 at 11 a.m. A reception will be held in the church fellowship hall immediately following the service, where attendees can visit with the family.
Please visit www.daviswatkins.com to sign the guestbook, express condolences and share memories.
To send flowers to Clifford's family, please visit our floral section.