William Cockins “Corky” Long, Jr.
Longtime Wellington banker, oilman, and former State Representative William Cockins "Corky" Long, Jr. a loving and generous husband, father, grandfather and friend entered eternal life on Saturday, November 30th after a brief illness at Wesley Hospital in Wichita, Kansas at the age of 84 years 7 months and 28 days.
W. C. Jr. was born on April 2, 1929 at Wesley Hospital to William Cockins Long, Sr. and Bethene (Florence) Long. He was later given the nickname "Corky" from the Gasoline Alley comic strip popular in the 1930's and 1940's.
Corky attended Riverside Elementary School in Wichita for several years until the family moved to Harper in 1936. He later attended Harper Elementary School and was a 1945 graduate of Harper High School playing linebacker and center on the football team and also a guard on the basketball team.
Corky grew up working in his dad's service station in Harper. Working in his dad's service stations started Corky's love of cars and his being very particular about how a car should be serviced and kept clean. Due to the death of his father in 1952, Corky took over the business at the age of 23. Corky was always an innovator and expanded the service stations in Harper, Sharon and Medicine Lodge to include a bulk fuel plant facility, a bulk propane plant, an automotive parts store in Harper, and a Liquefied Anhydrous Ammonia (NH3) facility north of Harper, the first in the area. Because of his business acumen Corky was asked to join the First National Bank in Harper as a Director in 1955.
Corky was very interested in politics and in 1967 he was elected State Representative from Harper and Barber County and was re-elected in 1969. Always a fair and honest man, Corky worked very hard for the rural interests of the state. He also was instrumental in gaining passage of a bill to promote equal housing for all Kansans regardless of race as well as a new and better way to distribute user fees and sales taxes to local units of government.
In 1971 Corky entered banking as a full time profession, one he deeply loved, purchasing the Farmers State Bank in Norwich, Kansas. This started his ownership or involvement in several banks including The Cedar State Bank in Cedar Vale and the Maize State Bank in Maize. Corky decided that Wellington was a great place to do business and purchased controlling interest in the then National Bank of Commerce, now the Bank of Commerce in 1975 and continued to serve as an officer of the bank and Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Commerce up until his death.
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Corky was also interested in the oil and gas business and founded WellWin Drilling Corporation in 1980 with his friend Jack Mitchell.
Corky dearly loved people. It was extremely rare for him to miss a day of work or a walk downtown to the Donut Shop to visit with friends. Corky was never shy expressing his opinion on the issues of the day; or doing research on issues he was interested in including politics, religion and history and sharing them with his friends or family.
Corky has been faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church and was an active member of St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Wellington for many years as well as St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Harper. He was also active in the Kansas Bankers Association, one of the founding members of the Independent Community Bankers Association of Kansas, Kansas Oil Marketers Association, the Wellington Industrial Development Corporation, the Wellington Rotary Club, Wellington Chamber of Commerce, Harper Chamber of Commerce, the Harper Lions Club, several hospital and building committees, the Kansas Republican Party and many other community initiatives.
Corky never cut corners and his honesty was above reproach. He always expressed this to his children about the importance of living a faith based life, being generous to others, volunteering for community service and being true to yourself. Corky never had a speeding ticket in his life and after being audited by the IRS was owed a refund by the IRS.
In 1956 Corky married Carol Virginia Drouhard of Danville Kansas and to this union six children were born; Mary Beth Ponton and husband Rod of Salina, Kansas and Mary Beth's children Alyssa Hermreck and husband Chris, Hayley George and Grayson George; John C. "J. C." Long and his wife Mary of Wellington and children William C. III and John; James J. and his wife Olga of Wichita and daughter Carol; Nathan and his wife Kristi of Dallas, Texas and their children Sam, David, Anne Marie, Nathan, Jr., Eli, Sarah and Rachel; Anne M. Setter and her husband Mel of Topeka, Kansas and their children Claire, Aidan and Caroline; and Allyson C. Lauer and husband Rob of Marysville, Kansas and their children Katherine, Grace, Jack and Luke. Corky was extremely proud of his family's achievements in business, politics, and law.
Corky was preceded in death by his parents William C. Long, Sr. (1952) and mother Bethene (1996); a sister Mary Louise (1924) and his dear brother PFC Jefferson Long III Killed-In-Action in World War II in 1945.
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Visitation will be held at the funeral home on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 from 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. In honoring Corky’s wishes the casket will remain closed. The family will receive and greet friends at St. Anthony/St. Rose Catholic Church in Wellington, Kansas from 5:00 – 7:00 P.M. The Rosary will begin at 7:00 P.M.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:30 A.M. at St. Anthony/St. Rose Catholic Church. Father Dwight Birket will officiate. Interment will be held at 2:00 P.M. at the Fairview Cemetery in Danville, Kansas.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers memorials be made to the Jeff Long American Legion Post 104 in Harper, Kansas or the Avenue of Flags at Prairie Lawn Cemetery in Wellington, Kansas. Contributions can be left or mailed to Frank Funeral Home, 417 N. Washington, Wellington, Kansas 67152.
Frank Funeral Home has been entrusted with the arrangements.
To leave condolences or sign our guest book, please visit our website at www.frankfuneralhome.net