James C. and Patricia G. Long recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. They were married June 23, 1957.
They met in Raleigh, North Carolina, while students at N.C. State University and Meredith College. Both were participating in the initial college choir tour for North Carolina college students, with Pat as organist and Jim singing bass. While choir wisdom says, “Bus romances don’t last,” this one has lasted a lifetime.
After being married at Cliffside Baptist Church in Cliffside, North Carolina, the couple lived briefly in Aberdeen, North Carolina, and Greensboro, North Carolina, before going to Fort Worth, Texas, where both enrolled in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jim earned a master’s degree in religious education, and Pat earned a master’s degree in church music.
After graduation from seminary, the couple served churches in Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina for many years and are known in Baptist circles for their work in church growth and teaching at Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly during Sunday School and Music Weeks. They have performed and entertained church groups in Charleston, Anderson and Columbia, and are residents of Columbia, where Pat has served as organist at Shandon Baptist Church for the past 14 years. Jim is employed as a marketing associate for Legacy Retirement Community in Mills River and is active at Shandon, having served as interim religious education director, and director of the senior adult choir.
The couple has been four children – Debbie Fitzgerald, Jim Long Jr., Christie Wagers, and Laurie Felkel – 12 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
After a brief celebration with family, the couple will enjoy a week’s vacation touring the Southwestern United States and visiting friends.