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’52 Sarah Brackney Long, MD (1926-2016) 


Sarah Long, a beloved mother of five and pioneering female physician, died on January 20, 2016, at the age of 89. She is predeceased by her husband John F. Long, who passed away in 2009, after 61 years of marriage. Sarah was born on December 5, 1926, in Sidney, Ohio, to Caroline (Shue) Brackney and Robert L. Brackney, joining her brother, Robert Jr. She grew up in Dayton. Sarah's childhood was shaped by the Great Depression. Her father, who lost his retail position in the economic downturn, supported his family through odd jobs. For example, he repaired discarded vacuum cleaners, and bartered them for food with farm families who were getting their first electrical service through the Rural Electrification Administration. Nonetheless, like many families, they struggled, and at times food was short and rent was late.These experiences shaped Sarah her whole life. She was frugal and self-sufficient, perpetually grateful for - and somewhat amazed at - the abundance that life brought her. Sarah began college at Ohio State University in 1945, receiving an academic scholarship, which she augmented with part-time jobs. She enrolled in Ohio State's pre-med program, even though she doubted she would be able to afford medical school. In the fall quarter of her sophomore year, in French class, she met her future husband. John asked her out on their first date in December, 1946. They traveled by streetcar to the movies, and then had hot chocolate at the Purple Cow. John proposed marriage the following February and Sarah readily accepted. They were wed June 15, 1948. As Sarah neared the completion of her BA in the spring of 1948, taking just three years, the couple considered their options for the future. They planned for John to complete his graduate studies, and then she would follow him as he pursued his career in teaching and research. Sarah decided to apply to medical school just to see if she'd get in. Competition was stiff with 2500 applicants for a class of 80. With a backlog of returning World War II veterans, the school set aside just three slots for women. When Sarah got word of her acceptance, she initially intended to decline it. But John insisted that they adjust their plans to take advantage of the opportunity, a decision they never regretted. With the living allowance of John's GI bill and Sarah's savings, the couple was able to afford her medical school tuition. Sarah developed a keen mechanical sense from watching her father, a trait that John admired. While still newlyweds, the couple was driving to Rey-noldsburg for John to have a job interview, when their 1937 Ford stalled. John pushed the car to the side of the road and lifted the hood. He saw no obvious problem. Sarah suggested he disconnect a metal tube and try to start the engine. When it wouldn't start, she said he should reconnect the tube, disconnect another one, and try to start it once more. Then she said, "It's the fuel pump that is the problem." John bought a $3 fuel pump, installed it, and they continued on their way. Sarah's medical career spanned 60 years, from her graduation in 1952 until her retirement in 2012 at the age of 86. She shaped her work around her growing family. Her first child, George, was born during her internship at Grant Hospital. Upon completing her training, she worked evenings (7-9 p.m.), and took house calls at night. The couple developed a routine - when a call came in, they would carefully put George in the baby carrier, and drive together to the patient's house. John would wait in the car with George. Sarah would bring her medical bag and care for the patient, collecting $3-$5 in cash payment. She continued to work through 1957, and then took an eight-year hiatus to stay home with her children. She returned to work when her fifth child, Nancy, was two. In 1966, Sarah began an internal medicine residency at Mt. Carmel, staying overnight every third night. A babysitter cared for her five children by day, and John stayed with them overnight. Once her residency was complete, she held a variety of positions, most recently at the Bureau of Disability Determination. Sarah was an anchor to her family, offering loving support to her children through good times and bad. She leaves a hole in our lives that will never be filled. Sarah lived at Kensington Place for the last three years of her life, and leaves many friends amongst the residents and staff. She is remembered for her cheerfulness and for always taking an interest in others' lives. Sarah is survived by brother, Robert L. Brackney, Jr. of Sidney; and her children, George (Helen Wang) of Berwick, Helen Lucille (Lucy) (Kevin) Corcoran of Cincinnati, Harold (Deke) of Bexley, Clara (Mike Fligner) Lawrence of Santa Cruz, Calif., and Nancy (Jack) Sieber of Medford, Mass.; eleven grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter. She is greatly missed. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Ohio State University Alumnae House (http://ashsocietyosu.org/).



Posted on 14-Apr-16 by Pond, Deborah
Tags: Alumni Notes, Class of 1950 - 1959, Obituaries
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