Former U.S. Congressman and State Senator, Speedy O. Long, died Thursday, October 5, 2006, at his home in Jena. He was 78. Visiting was at Hixson Brothers Funeral Home, Jena, on Friday, October 6, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday, October 7, from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Saturday, October 7, at Hixson Brothers Funeral Home. Internment was at Magnolia Cemetery, Tullos, LA.
Mr. Long is survived by his wife, Florence Theriot Long of Jena; two sons, Field Long and David Long, both of New Roads; one granddaughter, Shelby Ann Long of Ventress; four brothers, Willie F. Long of Jena, Earl K. Long of Olla, Steve Long of Olla, and Charles Long of Tullos; three sisters, Jo Beth Long Barber of Vicksburg, MS, Sarah Long Allison of Natchitoches, and Willa Long Freeman of Natchitoches. He was preceded in death by his parents, Felix and Verda Pendarvis Long, and his sister, Sallie Long Mixon.
Mr. Long was a graduate of Winnfield High School, graduate of Northeast Junior College in Monroe in 1950, graduate of Northwestern State College in Natchitoches in 1951, and earned his Juris Doctor degree at Louisiana State University in 1959.
He was elected to the Louisiana State Senate in 1956 and 1960, serving until 1964. In 1965 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served four consecutive terms, serving in the 89th through 92nd Congresses. While in Congress he served on the Armed Services Committee and the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee. His subcommittee held hearings in South Vietnam that discovered why the M-16 rifle was failing in combat conditions. The Pentagon subsequently made changes in the ammunition used and to the cleaning procedures, and the weapon has continued to perform well since. Mr. Long was also credited with convincing the Pentagon to designate Fort Polk a permanent military installation, and has been credited with decisions made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to undertake development and control of the Red River in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.
After retiring from Congress in 1972, Mr. Long was elected District Attorney of the 28th Judicial District, then comprised of LaSalle and Caldwell Parishes, an office he held until retiring in 1985. He then returned to his law practice in Jena, but was called back to public service in 1994 when the Louisiana State Supreme Court appointed him to serve as Judge Pro Tem of the 28th Judicial District Court in Jena until a judge was elected in the following year. He retired from the practice of law in 2005.
He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Jena, a United States Navy veteran, a member of the American Legion and the Masonic Lodge. Arrangements by Hixson Brothers Funeral Home, Jena.