Monday, February 2, 2009

Sad news to report

I'm back from vacation and planned a more light hearted post but then this news came in from Rex Hospital.

February 2, 2009

RALEIGH, N.C. – Former North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Jim Long died today at Rex Hospital where he had been hospitalized after suffering a serious stroke on Wednesday, January 21. Long, 68, was surrounded by his family during his final moments and throughout his treatment in the hospital's intensive care unit.

“It is with heavy hearts that our family witnessed Jim's passing today,” said Peg O’Connell, Long’s wife. "We will be forever thankful for the prayers and kind words the people of North Carolina offered to Jim and our family during this difficult time. Jim loved this great state and its gracious people. He was honored to serve them."

Long served as head of the North Carolina Department of Insurance for 24 years and retired last month. He held a state-wide elected office longer than anyone in North Carolina history with the exceptions of Secretary of State Thad Eure and Agriculture Commissioner Jim Graham.

O'Connell urges North Carolina families to educate themselves about stroke and stroke prevention. "This is a terrible day for our family, yet I know Jim would want some good to come of this," said O'Connell. "There is nothing more precious than health and family."

Funeral arrangements for Long have not been finalized."

Statement from NC Department of Insurance
For Immediate Release:
February 2, 2009

On behalf of the entire N.C. Department of Insurance, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin issues the following statement:

“Our hearts are broken over the loss of our former leader and dear friend, Jim Long. For 24 years, we were fortunate enough to work by his side, sharing both personal and professional triumphs and disappointments, laughter and sorrow. He was a mentor and friend to all of us, and we will miss him more than words can express. As our family grieves, we will try to find comfort knowing that through our work we can honor Commissioner Long’s legacy of serving the people of our state that he so loved.

Our hearts and prayers for peace and strength are with Peg and the rest of Commissioner Long’s family.”

Statement from Attorney General Roy Cooper on Jim Long
"Jim Long was a fighter for consumers. He committed his life to serving the people of North Carolina and our state is a better place because of his service."
Former North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance Jim Long passed away Monday at the age of 68. He served as the state's Insurance Commissioner for more than twenty years.

Raleigh: Gov. Perdue today ordered all North Carolina state flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of former North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Jim Long who passed away Monday, February 2nd. Flags will be flown at half-staff beginning immediately until sunset the day of the service.

Statement from Gov. Perdue:

“Jim Long was a giant of a person, a tremendous public servant, and a close personal friend. He was serious when it came to helping the public and at the same time he had an infectious sense of humor and personality. His red tie was legendary and so was his commitment to North Carolina. North Carolina has lost a great leader.”

Lt. Gov Walter Dalton

“North Carolina has lost a dedicated public servant, a fine leader and a great man. Our thoughts and prayers are with Peg and his family during this difficult time. North Carolinians will never forget Commissioner Long’s 24 years of service at the Department of Insurance, his warm humor or his signature red ties, but most importantly they will never forget his love of the people.”

House Speaker Joe Hackney

“Commissioner Long was one of the most dedicated public servants in the history of our state and I am honored to have worked with him. During his years in office, he managed the difficult task of keeping our insurance rates among the lowest in the nation while also helping to keep our insurance industry one of the strongest. We also shared a connection to Alamance County, his home and my occasional workplace while I was an assistant district attorney. I will miss his humor and we will all miss his service.”

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