Saturday June 15th, 2024 7:30PM
Whitfield Funeral Home
Little Davenport
Hamilton Mill

James Mark DeLong, Sr.

Obituary Date: Thursday, July 9, 2015


James Mark DeLong, Sr., 94, of Gainesville passed away peacefully at the home of Greg and Catherine on July 9, 2015.

He was born in Gainesville, Ga. on August 6, 1920 to Frank Wiley DeLong Sr. and Kate Erline Maness. He grew up on Historic Green Street, graduated from Gainesville High School in 1937, and then attended the University Of Georgia School Of Business.  He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Jim began flying at the young age of 15.  By age 17 he had his own plane.  He was enrolled in a civilian pilot training program in Athens when World War II was declared. He entered the Army Air Force in May 1942.  During his service in the war, he piloted a Martin B-26 bomber, flying 73 bombing missions, including those on D-Day over Normandy. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 12 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart, and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Ribbon with 2 bronze service stars.  He was later awarded the Liberty Medal and Certificate of Appreciation from the people of France during a special Veterans 50th anniversary trip to Normandy.  First Lieutenant James DeLong is quoted in several books authored by Dr. Stephen Ambrose of the Eisenhower Center of New Orleans.  Various articles of his uniforms are currently displayed in The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, the March Field Air Museum in Riverside, California, and the Northeast Georgia History Museum in Gainesville.  His love of flying was deep.  He continued to fly his own plane until the age of 76.

In November 1945, Jim married Frances Davis. They continued to make Gainesville their home.  Jim entered business with his father and two brothers.  Together they owned and operated DeLong Motors, Inc, (Gainesville's first Buick and GMC dealership) and DeLong Home and Auto Supply.

Jim was elected to the Board of Directors of the First National Bank of Gainesville (Regions Bank) in 1967 and later to the First National Bancorp as a charter board member. He served in this capacity for 21 years.  He was a member of Elks, the Kiwanis Club, the Chattahoochee Country Club, American Legion and the Defense Orientation Conference Association.  He was a long-time member and deacon of the First Baptist Church and an active member of the Angler's Sunday School class until February of this year.

It was important to Jim DeLong to give back to his community, whether it was helping to clean up downtown Gainesville after the 1936 tornado or regularly volunteering to share his war experiences with school children at the Northeast Georgia History Museum.

Mr. DeLong was preceded in death by only 20 days by his wife of almost 70 years, Franny.  He was also predeceased by his parents and his brother, Harold.

He is survived by his sons Dr. Jim DeLong of Watkinsville (Pam Estes), Dr. Greg DeLong of Gainesville and daughter-in-law Catherine; five grandchildren, Mark (Melissa) DeLong of Nashville, Dr. Scott (Charlotte) DeLong of Braselton, Laura D. Laibe (Remi) of Mirecourt, France, Allison D. Falcone (David) of Jacksonville, FL, Charlie (Stephanie) DeLong of Gainesville; great-granddaughters, Eliora Laibe, Brooklyn Falcone, Madeline DeLong,  Ansley DeLong and great-grandsons, Evan and Cameron DeLong, Simon and Jude Laibe, Thomas Falcone; brother, Frank W. DeLong, Jr, of Sarasota, FL. He is also survived by nephews Hal (Sue) DeLong, Gainesville, Frank (Lise) DeLong of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and niece Ginger (Ted) Burdo of Hamilton, Ga.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Friday July 17 from 6-8. Funeral services will be at 11:00 Saturday, July 18 in the First Baptist Church Sanctuary followed by a Military Honors Burial at Alta Vista Cemetery. The family will greet friends at the cemetery following the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given to Hospice of NEGMC, 2150 Limestone Pkwy, Suite 222 Gainesville, GA 30501 or to the Ministry of Caring, First Baptist Church 751 Green St NW, Gainesville, GA 30501

The family wishes to thank Hospice of NEGMC and Southern Companions for their wonderful care and support.

Those wishing to leave online condolences for the DeLong family may do so at

Little & Davenport Funeral Home and Crematory 355 Dawsonville Hwy, Gainesville, GA is in charge of arrangements.

Funeral Home
Little & Davenport Funeral Home and Crematory
355 Dawsonville Hwy SW, Gainesville 30501