When someone dies who has been in the public eye, it might be said that he or she was a nice person or a strong leader or a great family person. Rarely is it all three of those things. Rarer still is it completely true.
Which brings us to Gary Long, the former president and CEO of Public Service of New Hampshire. You may read or hear of Long described as all three of those people. Believe it.
New Hampshire in general and Manchester in particular have lost a great deal in the sudden, untimely death of Gary Long at age 63. An engineer by training and by interest, he must have wondered more than once in his 38 years with PSNH “what the heck” (he really did speak like that) he was doing in a particular job.
Those jobs included governmental affairs and corporate communications and customer service and regulations. It also led him to the top job in a company that had been acquired by a bigger, out-of-state utility. But in part because of Long’s own ethics and strength, PSNH remains a very local entity in many ways.
Long also gave generously to his community, from serving on and chairing the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce board to helping Easter Seals and, one of his favorites, judging Dean Kamen’s FIRST robotics competition.
A friend wrote of Long’s passing on her Facebook page: “Very saddened by this news. After graduating college and entering the workforce, I quickly became aware of which people were responsible for getting things done in our state. I very much admired this man’s vision, integrity and kindness to all. Wow — we really lost a good one.’’
With downsizing, key people like Long have to take on more and more work. It was his lot to be tasked with the Northern Pass project and all its political issues. Typical of him, he took it on without complaint, although it must have been a burden.
Long just retired earlier this summer. It has to be especially painful for his family, friends and co-workers that his days were cut short.
But they know, and will be comforted in knowing, that Gary Long was a special, courageous man who will be fondly remembered and very much admired.