By Leonard Shapiro
Henry Arlington “Hank” Long, of Warrenton, a co-founder of the iconic Washington area real estate company Long & Foster, who later launched his own development firm responsible for a number of major regional pro-jects, died at the Lake Manassas Health and Rehabilitation Center on Dec. 8. He was 83.
Mr. Long, who moved to the Middleburg area in 1985, also was a gener-ous philanthropist as a major donor and supporter of the Loudoun Hospi-tal Center and Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts, among many other community and non-profit organizations.
Mr. Long was born on May 18, 1937, in Arlington, to the late William Arn-stean Long and Emily Pearl Garland.
He spent a number of years as a youngster on his grandfather’s family farm near Breezewood, Pa., and graduated from Arlington’s Washington-Lee High School in 1955 and Virginia Tech in 1959. He was a proud member of Tech’s military Corps of Cadets, and went on to a distin-guished career as an Air Force officer and pilot. Mr. Long was honored with a University Distinguished Achievement Award at his 50th reunion in 2009.
“I’m probably the only guy you’ll ever meet in your life who volunteered to go to Vietnam as a young Air Force first lieutenant,” Mr. Long said in a 2018 interview. “This was before the Vietnam war started — 1961 and ‘62. I volunteered to help train ARVN pilots (South Vietnam’s military).”
A few years later, Mr. Long was assigned to the Strategic Air Command, piloting B-47 bombers for SAC during the height of the Cold War. He was stationed at several different bases around the country, including Colum-bus, Ohio. That’s where he met and married Betty Mae Horner, the moth-er of their four children who predeceased him in 2016.
After his military discharge, Mr. Long went into business for himself, work-ing in investment real estate and still flying in the Air Force reserves. He and Betty were living near Falls Church in an apartment complex called Monticello Gardens and became friendly with a neighboring older couple.
Knowing Mr. Long was in the real estate business, the coupe asked if he’d look at a house they were thinking about purchasing in a nearby de-velopment called Camelot. The sales manager for Camelot was P. Wes-ley Foster, and he showed the house to Mr. Long.
“That’s when we struck up a friendship,” Mr. Long said. “We started going to lunch together and the rest, as they say, is history.”
Mr. Long and P. Wesley “Wes” Foster soon became partners. Their first office was located at 8301 Arlington Boulevard in a space so small they couldn’t squeeze in a conference room. A lawyer they knew had an office and a suitable conference room not far from Fairfax Hospital and allowed them to use it. Mr. Long handled the commercial real estate end, Mr. Fos-ter the residential.
Mr. Foster’s Camelot connection also began paying off. Original buyers were starting to move out, and Long & Foster handled a number of those re-sales. By 1978, the company had grown exponentially, with more than 1,000 agents. Merrill Lynch was then getting into residential real estate and made Mr. Long and Foster an offer to sell their business and go to work for them.
Mr. Long was all for it; Mr. Foster was hesitant. Finally, Mr. Foster offered to buy him out, and Mr. Long was all for that, as well. They parted friends, and stayed friends ever since.
“Wes and I had a marriage,” Mr. Long said. “Anything we did was ours, not his or mine. And it worked. It just got too big for me. I’ve always want-ed the best for him, and Wes felt the same way. I was fine with (moving on). They made a lot of money, I made money. It was all good.”
In 1978, Mr. Long started the Henry Long Company, and it also flour-ished, making a substantial regional mark, including building AOL’s start-up headquarters. The company went on to develop the Westwood Project (Tysons) and Westfields (Chantilly), then the largest office park in the Washington metropolitan area. He later formed the Long Companies and Long Property Company to develop residential, office and medical pro-jects.
Mr. Long was a devoted and gregarious family man who enjoyed social gatherings and regaling attendees with tales of the latest books he was reading. He often took his family on ski tips, where he and Betty marked their anniversaries with family dinner celebrations. His favorite photo of his wife came from a rafting trip, when she was suited up in an oversized life vest, because he said he loved her beaming smile.
Among his favorite pastimes: traveling, playing tennis, skiing, scuba diving and curling up by the fire with a good book. He was a crossword puzzle whiz and often involved his grandchildren in filling in the blanks. He never missed a grandparents day at The Hill School, and more than once trav-eled across the country to attend granddaughter Maya’s dance recitals.
And long after he left military service, he remained an avid flyer, piloting planes and helicopters.
Mr. Long served on the board of directors for The Potomac School and Madeira School, was a vestry member at several Northern Virginia churches and a driving force in the development of the Goodwin House in Alexandria. He also was a long-time member of the Middleburg Tennis Club.
He clearly enjoyed life, and had a lifelong reputation as a kind, generous and caring man who treated everyone he encountered with respect. He always liked to say that everyone should wait tables at least once in their life. He did.
“I’ve probably lost more money than I ever thought I’d make,” he once said. “But I’ve been blessed in everything I’ve done.”
Mr. Long is survived by a sister, Rosie Long Freeman of Berryville; three daughters, Andrea Long Selfe of Warrenton, Elissa Long White of Middle-burg and Elizabeth Kristen Long of Los Angeles; a son, Henry A. Long II of Roswell, Georgia, and seven grandchildren, Tori Selfe, Allie White, Pamela White, Wagner White, Maya Long, Hunter Long and Henry A. Long III.
Because of COVID-19 related safety concerns, a memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital