Tom was welcomed into the world by his parents Edward and Catherine Long. He was born in Detroit Michigan, on August 2nd, 1942. His parents moved west to San Juan Capistrano, where he spent nearly half his life. He used to ride his horse, Cricket, to school. He was active in sports and scouting. Upon his mother’s insistence, he stayed in Boy Scouts and in February 1960, received his Eagle Scout certification. That same year, he graduated from San Juan Capistrano High School. During his first 3 years of college, he was a life guard for San Clemente and Seal Beach. His love for surfing is what landed him the job as a life guard because he was such a good swimmer. Tom attended college at Orange Coast College and Long Beach State University with a major in English. In 1963, he was drafted into the Army. However, because of his Eagle Scouts certification, he stayed in Virginia for 2.5 years never seeing an enemy bullet. Shortly after getting out of the military, he went back to finish his college degree. He landed a job working for Hobie Cat in their purchasing department. He was one of the first employees to be hired by the company. As Hobie grew, they expanded a portion of their company to Oceanside. In 1979, he moved to Fallbrook. He subsequently worked for Prindle Catamaran. Then, he had a complete career change and started working in the plastics industry. On May 13, 1985, his daughter, Ashleigh Kate Long, was born in Fallbrook Hospital. In 1989, he created a plastics reprocessing business for himself, with the help of a few friends. In 2003, he retired and continued to maintain his friendships, both personal and professional. He had more time to spend with his car family, fantasy football league, his family, and most recently his grandson, Maverick. The Huntington Beachcruisers Meet was started in 2001. Tom put his heart and soul into running that car show. On August 12, 2006, Valerie and Tom married. Shortly after that, he began finishing the restoration of his 1947 Chrysler Town and Country woodie convertible. Football season, Charger tailgates, and time with other fanatics were anticipated greatly. Maverick’s addition to the Long family was met with delight and much surprise. Tom was thrilled to have a grandson. And couldn’t wait to teach him all the important man things about cars and surfing.
Tom Long was a man larger than life. He held a positive outlook and always made friends everywhere he went. He was loved, adored, and respected by many. He was an amazing grandpa, father, husband, and friend. He has left big shoes to fill and his legacy will live on through each and every one of us.
Tom is survived by his daughter Ashleigh Long (Yuki Gopp), wife Valerie Long, and grandson Maverick Gopp.