Robert Z. Long, a longtime resident of Santa Monica and World War II veteran, died Feb. 17 from complications after a fall, his family said. He was 96.
Long was born in Los Angeles on Dec. 6, 1916. After high school he began working for Pep Boys Auto Supply, and in 1939, he was selected to be the manager of the company’s new store at Santa Monica Boulevard and Sixth Street. He moved to Santa Monica in 1939 and lived there the rest of his life.
Long joined the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Sill, Okla. during World War II. In 1943, he married Elsie Bevard at Fort Sill before being stationed in Europe. He served with the troops that followed Gen. George Patton through France to Berlin, Germany, securing the towns along the way.
After the war, he returned to Santa Monica where he resumed being the manager of Pep Boys. He and his wife had two boys, Stephen and Christopher.
Long retired from Pep Boys in 1975 and later in life began volunteer work delivering Meals on Wheels in Santa Monica, which he did until he was 92 years old. He was as well known for his work with Meals on Wheels, as he was for his 40 years with Pep Boys.
Long was preceded in death by his wife Elsie Long, sister Gladys Tafjen and brother Raymond Long.
He is survived by his son Stephen Long (wife Darlene Long, daughter Jennifer Philipsen, son-in-law Curtiss Philipsen) and son Christopher Long (wife Susan Long, daughter Alexandra Long).
A funeral service for Long was held Feb. 26 at Gates Kingsley & Gates Murphy Moeller mortuary, followed by burial at Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica.