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Longtime columnist Nancy Long dies at 78

Nancy Long
Nancy Long

GURNEE – Nancy Long, who delighted Lake County Journal readers for years with her long-running “Village Vine” column, has died. She was 78.

In her columns, Long often shared bits of local history, as well as stories of everyday life – from dealing with road construction to church celebrations to travels with her beloved husband of 53 years, Bob.

Long, a resident of Gurnee, died unexpectedly Dec. 24 at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.

She was born Oct. 25, 1940, in Waukegan, to Clark and Leora (Liebert) Wetterberg, who preceded her in death. She married her dear Robert “Bob” Long on July 10, 1965.

Long’s columns often reflected on her time as an art teacher, first in Highland Park, and then at Woodland Middle School in Gurnee, from which she retired in 2008. She was a talented calligrapher, illustrator and painter.

Her columns also resonated with her avid interest in Native American culture and history. In fact, her final column, which appeared in the Nov. 22 issue of the Lake County Journal, was in honor of Native American Heritage Month and related how she would ask her Woodland students about the foods they most associated with Thanksgiving, and how those foods often had Native American roots.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to Bob, as well as the rest of Nancy’s family,” Lake County Journal Editor Joan Oliver said. “I, along with our readers, will miss Nancy’s wonderful accounts of Lake County and of her travels. It feels like we’ve lost a member of our extended family.”

Long and her husband, Bob, were involved with the Northern Michigan Antique Flywheelers for fourth-grade field day, called Student Harvest Days. The couple enjoyed showing and teaching antique farming methods from the 1880s and early 1900s. In a recent column, Long described her role as giving “a brief history of corn, trying to cram over 6,000 years of history into five minutes or less.”

Long was the first female member of the Gurnee Lions Club and later became the group’s president, according to her obituary. She was an academic counselor at Columbia College of Missouri in Gurnee, and was the secretary of the Gurnee American Legion Auxiliary.

She is survived by her best friend and husband, Bob; a son, Tom Long; a daughter, Lisa Long; a brother, James (Lynn) Wetterberg; brothers-in-law, David Long and Russell Long; a sister-in-law, Carolyn (Clair) Deavor; and many nieces and nephews. She also is survived by her two cats, Torrie and Zoe, who made Long’s outfits complete with a “little cat hair.”

The visitation and funeral were held Jan. 4 at Gurnee Community Church, 4555 Old Grand Ave., in Gurnee, with Pastor Chris Stephens and Pastor Brian Walter officiating. Interment was private. Arrangements were handled by Sambrano Funeral & Cremation in Gurnee.

Expressions of condolence may be left on the guestbook at

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