Sister Delores “Dee” Long, 81, an Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph, died June 7, 2020, at Mount Saint Joseph, in her 45th year of religious life. She was a native of Kansas City, Mo.
Sister Dee was an Ursuline Sister of Paola, Kan., until the merger of that community with Mount Saint Joseph in 2008. A former semi-pro tennis player, she enjoyed nature and traveling and had an interest in Native American culture. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s College in Kansas in 1970 and a master’s degree from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kan., in 1989.
In Kansas, she was the physical education coordinator at the Lakemary Center, Paola (1979-82) and taught at Holy Angels, Garnett (1982-86). She taught at Holy Name, Kansas City (1986-88) and served as its principal (1988-95). She was also the principal at Our Lady of Unity, Kansas City (1995-2004). She taught at Our Lady of the Angels, Kansas City, Mo. (2004-2012). She served in the emergency care center at Catholic Charities in Kansas City for a year before retiring to the Ursuline Motherhouse in 2013, where she assisted in archives.
Survivors include the members of her religious community, nieces and cousins.
In compliance with health and public safety directives the wake and funeral services will be private. The wake service is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and the funeral at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory, Owensboro, is handling arrangements.
Donations in memory of Sister Dee may be made to the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, 8001 Cummings Road, Maple Mount, KY 42356.
In Remembrance of Sister Delores (Dee) Long, OSU
June 11, 2020
Sr. Pat Lynch, Assistant Congregational Leader
Delores Ruth Long was born on May 19, 1939, the oldest of four daughters born to Cloyd Harold Long and Wilma Frances Gibson Long in Mexico, Missouri. Her parents and her sisters Margaret, Joyce and Ermal preceded her in death. Sr. Dee is survived by her nieces and nephews, cousins and great-nieces and nephews.
We offer our sympathy and prayers to her family members and close friends. We are grateful to all of you who have come this evening or are joining us online to share in this celebration of her life. We are grateful to our Staff in the Villa for their kind care for her, and we are happy that some of her family came to be with her as she passed to eternal life.
Sr. Dee’s father was born in Pratt, KS and her mother was born in Hawk Point, MO. They were both Methodists. Dee said that her family began in the Congregational Church and she joined the Disciples of Christ when she was in high school. She won a church scholarship to Culver-Stockton College in Canton, MO. Her first desire for her future was to be a medical missionary. But she said her roommate was from South Africa and her parents were missionaries. “I think she changed my mind,” Dee said.
Dee’s heritage is listed as Scottish-Irish, but she discovered that her great, great grandmother was Cherokee, and she was very proud of that bloodline. She said that her sister married a Cherokee and his grandparents were chieftains. In 2011, she and her good friend Judy Moeder took a trip to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM for the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, which she really enjoyed. Another related item (kind of) was her passion for the Kansas City Chiefs football team. She was thrilled that she lived to see them win the Super Bowl this year.
Dee describes her childhood as normal. She was on the honor roll at Paseo High School in Kansas City, where she was very active in sports. She was a great athlete, and was involved in tennis, softball, and basketball in her younger years. She helped coach and mentor many young people. She was sponsored by the telephone company she worked for to go to tennis tournaments in a 6-state circuit, where she won many trophies. She said she never aspired to be a professional tennis player, and she quit playing tennis when her knees gave out. She worked for TWA as a night operator for 2 ½ years, and then moved to Florida after her father died in 1970. After 6 months, she returned to Kansas City and began working for one of the early mobile phone companies. It was during that year that she began thinking of becoming Catholic. After her job at the phone company, Dee worked for several years at the Hudson Oil Company. But she said, despite having her own home and a good job, she felt an emptiness within her. She began spending more time with her Catholic friends.
Dee was received into the Catholic church at St. Therese Church in Kansas City, MO on May 2, 1971 and was confirmed on December 3, 1972 at Queen of the Holy Rosary church in Overland Park, KS. She was a certified catechist and worked with all types of children in religious education. Sr. Mildred Katzer worked with her and wrote a letter of recommendation for her when she wanted to enter the community in Paola. She said of Dee: “She is a beautiful person—sincere, stable, efficient and dedicated to giving of herself to others.” And her pastor at Queen of the Holy Rosary wrote “Dee has a deep faith in God, underlying a real love for people and a strong desire and ability in serving God’s people.” As for her personality and attitudes he wrote: “I think Dee is a very friendly, cordial person who relates well to people. She is intelligent and in control and puts people around her at ease. She would be a fine example to other young women.”
Dee felt that God was calling her step by step to enter religious life and she found deep happiness in that journey. She made a Women’s Retreat at the Ursuline Convent in Paola. She visited other religious communities, but felt peace, warmth and acceptance with the Ursulines. She filled out an application form and received an answer, along with a birthday card, on her birthday on May 19, 1975. She entered the community at Paola on June 15, 1975. The first night she was there, she played softball on Sr. Kathleen Dueber’s team with the local women’s softball league. Sr. Kathleen remembers: “She was good!” Dee was supported by her family and friends in her decision to become a Sister. She was received into the Novitiate on December 21, 1975. She made First Profession of Vows on June 12, 1977 and Final Vows on June 8, 1980. One of her Formation Directors was Sr. Celine Leeker, who said of her: “She is a friend to all, kind, thoughtful and generous.” Sr. Kathleen later described some of Dee’s outstanding attributes: “Sr. Dee’s love for the community, her dedication to prayer and her commitment to living a life in service to others are all evident.”
After entering the Ursuline community, Sr. Dee received her Bachelor’s degree at St. Mary College in Leavenworth, KS. She worked at Lakemary Center in Paola as the Physical Education Coordinator. She was involved in Special Olympics and worked with many children in swimming, track and field, and other sports. When she left Lakemary in 1982, she went to Holy Angels School in Garnett, KS and taught thirty-two 7th and 8th grade students. Sr. Dee enjoyed working with middle school students. She was quoted as saying, “I taught kindergarten one day; that was enough.” She said she could relate more with young middle school students. “Their problems are different than the little ones. They need a strong hand but a listening heart.” She also made an impression on the parents. In her file is a letter from a set of parents who had two sons in the Catholic school in Garnett, KS. They were sad that she was moving from the country school to an inner-city school in Kansas City. They wrote to the Superior at the time and part of the letter said, “If it seems we are prejudiced in her favor, we are! She represents a type of teacher that all of us needed to have at some point—as my son puts it—‘tough, but fair.’ She will be missed next year, but our loss is another school’s gain. She will take with her the professionalism of her Order into areas where she may have to be even tougher, but fair. We know she will rise to the challenge.”
Sr. Dee earned her Master’s degree in Education Administration at Emporia State University. She served as teacher and principal at Holy Name school in Kansas City and then served as principal at Our Lady of Unity. The last 8 years of teaching were spent at Our Lady of the Angels in Kansas City, MO. In all, she worked with children with special needs and elementary students for 37 years.
In between her formal ministries, Sr. Dee did plenty of volunteer work. Besides teaching religious education, Dee also spent a summer with the Christian Appalachian Project in Lancaster, KY. She also helped Catholic Charities with emergency assistance. She spent summers as a lifeguard at the Ursuline camp in Paola. My own gratitude to her is great because one day at the camp when my relatives were visiting, Dee jumped into the swimming pool to save my niece Marion when the water was too deep for her 6-year-old body.
In her file are many certificates of appreciation and Teacher Recognition Awards. She was included in the 1992 Edition of Who’s Who in American Education for significant accomplishment and leadership. She was also honored by the Kansas City Area Council of the American Business Women’s Association.
Dee had many physical health challenges, including a bout with cancer leading to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. But her suffering was quiet, and she tried to take everything one day at a time, one minute at a time. She was brave in so many ways. She also had a spirit of adventure: Sr. Helen Smith said of Dee: “She’s the kind of person who’s open to new things. She had a bucket list of 5 or 6 items, and her family set out to help her do it. She took a hot air balloon ride, a gift for her 70th birthday, and she loved it.” She also went to Hawaii and indulged in whale-watching and parasailing, but the journey on the seas was rough and she said she was eating seasick pills like candy.
When she moved to Kentucky, she adapted well and made many friends, especially among the Villa staff. She volunteered to work in the Archives and was an intercessor in the Powerhouse of Prayer. Among her favorite devotions was the Rosary, which she prayed often. One of Dee’s favorite Scripture passages was one she marked in her Bible from Corinthians, chapter 13: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
And now, Sr. Dee, you know the fullness of that love. There is no more pain, and your heart is happy. We thank you for sharing your love and your life with us. May you rest in peace.