I know some folks didn’t get the news about this when it happened, so am just reposting the ADN.com obituary, with some of my own thoughts below. Feel free to add your memories and thoughts in the comments too!
Drury “Dean” Long died Nov. 21, 2006
Palmer: Dean Long, 78
Drury “Dean” Long, 78, of Palmer died Nov. 21, 2006, at his winter residence in Thousand Palms, Calif.
A celebration of life for friends in the community who would like to share memories will be held in spring, when he normally would have returned. An announcement will be published beforehand.
Mr. Long was born May 8, 1928, to Lucinda and Floyd Long in Hindsboro, Ill., and was reared in Illinois.
An educator who taught in Missouri, California and Alaska, Mr. Long was respected by his students and fellow teachers. He retired after teaching English and drama for several years at Palmer High School. He also led the production of numerous plays and musicals at the high school and in community theater.
Family wrote: “Dean touched the lives of many, many students and community members who participated as actors or in other capacities in one or more of the myriad dramatic productions that he directed and produced.
"Subsequent to his retirement, he traveled extensively with his wife Jean, and became an avid writer, joining writing groups and publishing several works. He continued to write until his final illness and leaves a novel ready for editing and submission.
"Dean was also an avid golfer who traveled to play the finest courses in America and abroad and as a lover of flying, he flew his own plane in Alaska, Canada and the Lower 48.
"Dean will be forever missed by his family, friends and former students who valued his company and counsel."
He is survived by his wife, Jean Long; son, Gary; grandson, Christopher; granddaughter, Donna Jean Kramer; great-grandson, Ethan Kramer; and sisters and brothers, Dorothy Koelsch, Garnet Kincaid, Paul Long and John Long.
Mr Long was the one high school teacher I had who was so powerful and communicated so much to me, I didn’t meet another on his level until I got into the MFA program at Arkansas and met Jim Whitehead.
I took every literature class Mr. Long taught, and my senior year was a T.A. for those same classes just so I’d have an excuse to sit through them again. I’ll never forget Mr. Long saying there was no point in reading all the footnotes on T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” since most of them referenced Sir James Frasier’s “The Golden Bough” anyway. He said just go to “The Golden Bough” instead, and he did, introducing us to archetypal and mythological literary criticism at the high school level.
Going on 30 years later, I still have those classical lit notes, and found them the other day, while packing for my next move. So bite me, Edith Hamilton. I never needed you. [grin]
I didn’t realize until I got to college lit classes and discovered none of my classmates had ever heard about any of that stuff that it was anything out of the ordinary. We finally did get to it in college, but not until my SENIOR year, in the upper division lit crit course for English majors (and I wasn’t even technically an English major, so don’t ask me what I was doing in there).
I took Mr Long’s drama classes too, although I didn’t do so well at those. I was too much of a “speech student” to lose myself in the parts the way he wanted me to. He gave me a shot at “Mammy Yokum” in “Lil’ Abner,” tho it it never went into production.
We didn’t always get along so agreeably, and I think he even gave me a C in drama one semester. But stage-managing “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds” was a really neat time, and an amazing play. I’ve seen many productions over the years, and it always amazes me to see higher level and even professional productions that fall short of performances I saw Mr. Long get out of high school students.
And I still have my copy of “The Golden Bough,” even if archetypal literary criticism is out of fashion now. I use it in other ways now. And I do still read Edith Hamilton’s “Mythology,” when I need to bone up a bit.