Katherine Philips Long, beloved wife of former pastor Dr. George Long (1921-2016) and spiritual mother and grandmother to so many men and women at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church, “finished her earthly race” and entered the presence of her heavenly King on July 27, 2018. She died peacefully at home, just weeks before her 96th birthday.
The third child of Volney Graham and Eleanor Davison Philips, Katherine is remembered with profound respect and deep affection. Some of the following lines summarize comments by Joe Novenson, the current pastor of Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church, and reflect the regard of many who knew her. Katherine was a spiritual matriarch to the family of God there.
She was kind-hearted. “A kind-hearted woman gains honor” (Proverbs 11:16). Radiating concern for all around her, Katherine had a stunning memory for detail about the lives of those within her circle of acquaintance. Having graduated “top citizen” from Florida High (1939) and having attended Columbia Bible College before graduating a “mortar board” member from Agnes Scott College (1944), she honed that capacity for detail with a major in History. With an ease that disarmed the less attentive, Katherine could quickly recall relatives, friends, and innumerable connections to one’s vocation and community. It was because she was in fact kind, all the way to the heart, and truly interested in others.
She was also wise. “The wise woman builds her house” (Proverbs 14:1). Katherine architecturally designed the spiritual and familial well-being that flourished in her home and family with consummate sensitivity to the true Builder of her home, the Lord Jesus Christ. Both her physical and spiritual family benefitted from her sharp focus on important unseen things. Even as age and accompanying weakness robbed Katherine of some of her mental sharpness and boundless energy, she brought grace and insight to the hearts and minds of all who visited her bedside.
Katherine was one of few women who had a P-51 named after her, "Kitten," and she married its pilot on Sept. 3, 1947. Whenever George was asked how long they had been married, he would answer, “not long enough,” though in the end it was almost 69 years.
From 1951-1955, they served in their first pastorate in Chickamauga, Ga., where she, an accomplished pianist, was organist. Their second pastorate was from 1955-1964 at First Presbyterian Church in Tupelo, Ms. It was from there they came to Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church and served until 1998. Retirement found them embracing two more ministries, one with international students and another with her pilot husband flying into remote places and encouraging pastors in their own service.
Survived by her four children and their spouses, Bill (Betsy) Long of Atlanta, Ga., Phil (Polly) Long of Vancouver, BC, Harry (Mary) Long of Midlothian, Va., Eleanor (David) Dunlap of Gainesville, Ga., Katherine’s brother Harry Philips of Montreat, NC, 14 grandchildren, and 27 great grandchildren, Katherine will be missed until the realization of the great hope of the resurrection, bought by the blood of her (and their) Lord.
A memorial service will take place on Saturday, Aug. 25, at 11 a.m. at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, gifts of memorial can be directed to the church.
Praise God for Katherine Long, woman of God, woman of His Word and servant of the King.
Arrangements are by Wann Funeral Home and Cremation Center (423) 821-7551. Please share your memories, stories and photos at www.wannfuneralhome.com.