Eugene ‘Gene’ Milton Long

Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 5:10 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Gene Long passed away peacefully at home on November 18, 2022. He leaves a legacy of love to all the lives he touched.

He was born in Oneonta, New York, April 15, 1929. He graduated from Oneonta High School lettering in football, basketball and baseball. Hoping to pursue his passion for football he attended the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. After a term he changed his focus and enrolled at Cortland State Teachers College. Following graduation, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he received the rank of Captain.

In June of 1953 he was hired as track coach and athletic trainer at Hamilton College, Clinton, NY. He continued at Hamilton College for the next 39 years. He assumed the role of Director of Physical Education, Athletics and Recreation and held that post, with occasional change in title, until his retirement in 1991. He and his wife, moved to Jekyll Island, Georgia and subsequently lived in Bluffton, South Carolina and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Gene and Arlene moved to their longtime summer residence in Clayton, NY permanently in 2019.

Gene was the first to design and build a form-fitting fiberglass mask for hockey goaltenders and in 2020 was nominated to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his devoted wife of 69 years, Arlene, daughters, Karen Roden and her husband, Peter, Nancy Heitzman and her husband Tom, his son-in-law Michael Prestegord, grandchildren, Matthew Roden and his wife, Andrea, Gregory Prestegord, Will Prestegord, Grace Heitzman, one great grandchild, Hanya Prestegord, his sister, Elizabeth Fontaine and his favorite travel companions, his brother-in-law John J Welsh and his wife, Rae.

He was predeceased by a daughter, Dr. Christina Long-Prestegord.

A Celebration of the wonderful life of Gene Lone will be held in the summer of 2022.

Arrangements are with the T.R. Jetty Funeral Home in Clayton.

Condolences can be made at