Robart Dair Long
February 27, 1938 - May 15, 2012
Robart Dair Long
Robart Dair Long of Little Rock, died on Tuesday, May 15, 2012. He was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to the late Mary Ward Gans and Overton “Pete” Long. He was preceded in death by one son, Andrew.
Bob is survived by his wife of 53 years, Paula H. Long; daughters Mary Helen Neal and her husband Guy of Bryant, Arkansas, Lauren Hall and her husband Danny of North Little Rock; sons Ward Everett Long of Little Rock and Robart Ryan Long and his wife Lee of St. Charles, Arkansas; his grandchildren Gaston Youngblood, Jacob Foster, Myles Neal, Zachary Long, Lauren Long, Zoe Hall and Abby Long; his sisters Connie Thode of Little Rock, Shuggie Ward of Hot Springs, Nikki Gillespie of Hickory, North Carolina, and brother James Ward, IV of Little Rock.
Bob grew up in Fort Smith, Arkansas, graduated from Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, then attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he met Paula.
He began his career in the furniture industry under the tuteledge of his step-father at Ward Furniture. James A. Ward, III, who raised Bob from the age of 7, sent Bob to lumber school in Memphis, Tennessee, where he became a certified hardwood inspector. Mr. Ward then put Bob on the road as a regional salesman, selling railroad box cars of furniture all over the mid-South.
Jimmy Ward introduced Bob to the outdoors, a passion of his step-father. The two fished and hunted together until Jimmy’s death in 1968. Jimmy showed Bob that great duck-hunting equated to great furniture sales. Many duck seasons were spent entertaining customers.
Upon the sale of Ward Manufacturing, Bob moved his family to Atlanta, Georgia. It was a short stay. In 1973, Bob was given an opportunity in Little Rock, Arkansas, to pursue his other passion – railroads. Bob began his new career at the Scott and Bearskin Railroad in Scott, Arkansas - a small excursion railroad powered by steam. Bob had a love for steam engines. He stayed in the railroad industry many years. He retired in 1994 due to health reasons. He remained on the board of the Dardanelle and Russellville Railroad and the Ouachita Railroad until his death. He traveled to China to watch live steam engines and chased Union Pacific’s #844 all over the country.
After retiring, when not chasing steam, Bob became an avid crappie fisherman. Fishing daylight till dark, Bob believed if they weren’t biting, they were getting ready to start. When fishing, he had the proverbial patience of Job. He supplied the neighborhood with fresh crappie. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Delta Waterfowl.
A memorial service will be held 11:00 a.m., Saturday, May 19, 2012 at Roller-Chenal Funeral Home Chapel, (501)224-8300.
The family will receive friends from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m., prior to the service on Saturday.