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James "Diz" Long

June 16, 1925 April 29, 2018
James "Diz" Long
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Obituary for James "Diz" Long

A Time To Be Born:
James Edward Long was welcomed into the long family by his loving parents, Cora Tellis Long and Edward Long, on June 16, 1925, in Meadowbrook, West Virginia. He was one of three children born to this union and one of his sisters preceded him in death.

A Time To Plant:
At the age of one, James moved to Detroit, Michigan to live with his grandmother. She planted the love of the Lord in him, and he became a member of Hartford Avenue Baptist Church. He was educated in the Detroit Public School System and attended Wayne State University.

A Time To Serve:
James served his country in the United States Marine Corps. He was one of the first one hundred African American Marines and one of the first black Paratroopers of the 555th unit, which later became the 82nd Airborne Division serving in World War II. While in the Marines he became the sprint champion of the 82nd Airborne Division and was sent to the 1948 Olympic trials along with Harrison Dillard.

A Time To Love:
James met and fell in love with Martha Thomas and they were married on March 16, 1951. To their union, a daughter, Donna, was born. Later he and Delores Howard shared in raising two stepdaughters, Michelle, and Paulette, with whom he shared a close bond.

A Time To Work:
James tried his hand at many endeavors, and because of this, he has lived a varied, exciting, and interesting life. Between 1949 - 50, after leaving the army, he played professional football. He became a defensive halfback for the Chicago Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Erie Vets, and the Toronto Allouettes. In the 50's, while living in Erie, Pa., he tried his hand at amateur boxing and won a Golden Gloves Heavyweight Championship, he worked for a while as a Physical therapist at the Ypsilanti state hospital.
James was a jazz enthusiast and was given the nickname "Diz" for his love of the music of Dizzy Gillespie. he was master of ceremonies for artists Sarah Vaughn and Dinah Washington. He was on stage with Dolly Parton in Las Vegas. Diz attended the Emmy Awards. His extremely good physical skills and conditioning made his choice to provide personal protection a good one. Diz was a bodyguard for many individuals in public life, in the entertainment industry, politicians, and businesspersons. He has worked for the late Frank Sinatra, Lana Turner, Harold Robbins, Quincy Jones, Liza Minelli’s father Vincent, the Stokes brothers, President Richard Nixon’s daughter, Tricia, just to name a few. For 14 years he provided security for Rueben Sturman and become more like family than an employee. This relationship allowed him to travel the world, living in many places and meeting famous persons. He lived on a yacht on the Riviera and met Picasso. his life was truly a full one. Diz once said, "most people just exist, but I have lived".

A Time To Die:
Diz long made his transition on Sunday, April 29, 2018, he leaves fond memories with his daughter and granddaughter, Donna Long Coleman and Kelsey Coleman; step-daughters, Michelle Mitchell (Albert) and Paulette Howard, all of Cleveland; sister, Jacqueline Long of Pittsburgh, Pa; nieces, Tanya and Joyce; nephew, Bobby; a special cousin, Allen (Gloria) Tellis, who was more like a brother than a cousin; dear close friends, Earl and Rochelle Johnson, Hampton and Barbara Lett; Mr. and Mrs. Paul Jackson, Mr. and Mrs. John Carter, Raymond Murray and Charles Warren as well as other relatives and close friends, to numerous to mention.

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