SUMMIT, NJ - Former Summit Mayor Walter Long, who served from 1996-2003, is being remembered tonight as a man who gave his utmost support to the community.
“Walter was a dynamic leader who was absolutely devoted to Summit,” said Joe Steiner, President of the Suburban Chamber of Commerce. “He gave his all to the community. We are at a big loss.”
Long, who had apparently succumbed to adrenal cancer, died late last night at his home in Manchester, Vermont. People who knew him said that he had been ill for several years.
“I would call him Summit’s biggest cheerleader, a very spunky guy and always fun to be around,” said Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Ellen Dickson. “He was responsible for the revitalization of downtown Summit, from replacing wires, to sidewalks and even the curbs.”
A fixture in the community, Summit named a field after the former mayor, "Walter D. Long (baseball) Field," located behind the recreation center in town. “I want people to remember that the field was named after him about three or four years ago,” said Dickson.
Steiner does not recall a greater Summit supporter.
“Even at the time of his death, he is a Summit property owner,” Steiner said. “He was committed to making the downtown better and you name the project and he was involved.”
Steiner said he recalls a “Drive 25” campaign that Long spearheaded where he asked everyone driving around town to adhere to the limit regardless of the posted speed limit.
“His company footed the bill for the promo stickers,” Steiner said. “He didn’t get any credit for that but he made sure the campaign happened.”
Long is survived by his wife, Cathy, and sons, Walter, Jr. and Christopher.
Funeral services will be held at St. Teresa of Avila at 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, April 19.