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Robert Richard Long
October 13, 2023
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The Rev. Dr. Robert R. Long died in Pittsburgh, PA on Friday, October 13, 2023. He was 82 years old.
Bob is survived by his beloved wife of 56 years, Marilyn Wallace Long, and by his sister, Beverly Beall (Dr. Charles Beall), son Greg Long (Carmela), daughter Lindsay Tucker (Curtis Thompson), daughter Elisa Akpo-Esambe (Mulango), ten grandchildren (Zack, Connor, Tonya, Nijewl, Desiree, Destiny, Erika, Brynn, Cole, and Mia), and four great-grandchildren (Anna, Landen, Nova, and Layton). He was preceded in death by his parents, C. Richard Long and Martha Long of Sharon, PA.
Bob Long graduated from Sharon High School in 1959, and then went on to complete his undergraduate degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh, where he also played football. After graduating from Pitt, he went on to earn a Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Ever since making the life-changing decision to follow Jesus Christ during a Billy Graham Crusade when he was a high school student, Bob Long’s single-minded purpose was to invite everyone he encountered to do the same. From his days playing football at the University of Pittsburgh to his work with youth in inner-city New York, from his studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary to his return to Pittsburgh to reach out to student-athletes at his alma mater, Bob’s life was illuminated by a fervent desire to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and impact the lives of young people.
Bob was instrumental in shaping a vision for a regional campus ministry movement to make sure college students in western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and West Virginia would be reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Bob was a founding member and first president of the CCO (Coalition for Christian Outreach), a college ministry organization based in Pittsburgh.
In November 1972, a year and a half after the CCO’s official incorporation, Bob accepted the position of Executive Director, and he continued to lead the CCO until 1999, when he shifted to the role of Chairman of the CCO Board of Directors, and ultimately, Chairman Emeritus. In the decades since its founding, Bob helped the CCO grow from a regional campus ministry organization into a national movement. His life’s work, infused with his passion for the Gospel, has left an indelible mark on this organization and on countless lives.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. at Bellefield Presbyterian Church, 4001 Fifth Avenue, PA, Pittsburgh 15213. Check the Bellefield Church website (bellefield.org/memorials) for updated information about visitation and a reception following the service.