Services set Saturday for long


GODFREY — Services are scheduled for Saturday, February 5, for John Thomas “Tom” Long.

The prominent Godfrey lawyer who helped launch the river game in Illinois died Friday morning at his home surrounded by his family. He was 71 years old.

The Army veteran was licensed to practice law in Illinois and Missouri and was a former assistant district attorney for Madison County. He was Republican President of Madison County from 1986 to 1991 and a delegate to the 1988 Republican Convention. He hosted President George H. W. Bush in Madison County for the 1988 Lincoln Day dinner and campaign rally in September 1988 at Alton. He was also a former Illinois Republican Electoral College voter.

When Illinois voted to allow gambling on riverboats, Long was instrumental in the Alton Belle becoming the state’s first venue in 1991. He also served as CEO and Vice President of Argosy Gaming Co.

“He was the man who brought the Alton Belle to Madison County and led it through the formative years,” Edwardsville attorney Gordy Broom noted on the tribute page. de Long at the Gent Funeral Home. “At that time, we were all at the top of our game and we enjoyed the challenges and the excitement of it all.”

Born in Kankakee, Long was the eldest of six children. He earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce and accounting from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, where he was also a founding member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He earned his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and his CPA from the University of Illinois.

He served as law clerk for the US Department of Justice and Locke, Purnell, Laney & Neeley, PC. He was also a tax practitioner at Coopers & Lybrand, CPAs; a partner with Farrell, Heil, Long & St. Peters, PC; then partner at Farrell and Long, PC; Of Counsel with Farrell, Hunter, Hamilton and Julian PC; and Of Counsel with Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard, PC

He was also chairman of the board and principal shareholder of First National Bank of Grant Park and First Community Bank of Godfrey.

A member of Vaughn Hill Church of Christ in East Alton, Long was also a board member of OSF St. Anthony’s Health Center, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Madison County Bar Association, the Alton- Wood River Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, Illinois CPA Society, Illinois Community Bankers Association, Southern Illinois Employers Association, and Southwestern Illinois Growth Association. Tom was a member of the Vaughn Hill Church of Christ.

Funeral services with full military honors are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 5 at Sunset Hills Cemetery, 50 Fountain Drive, Glen Carbon. A visitation is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Vaughn Hill Church of Christ, 662 S. Bellwood Drive, East Alton, with a memorial service at 3 p.m. Gent Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements; in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Jackie Long Foundation, c/o Dennis and Anne Long, 312 Indian Hills Court, Rantoul, IL 61866.


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