Hershey James “Jim” Longenecker ’50

Hershey James “Jim” Longenecker ’50, 82, born on Jan. 19, 1928, in Belgian Congo to the late J. Hershey and Minnie H. Longenecker, passed away on July 17 at residence in Charlotte, N.C. Growing up as the son of missionaries, Longenecker, also known as “Chick,” graduated from Davidson with a B.A. in philosophy in 1950. Called of God to become a minister, he attended Columbia Theological Seminary. After an internship in Tifton, Ga., he graduated in 1955 with an M.Div. Longenecker appreciated a note his father had written three years before his birth, showing how they had planned what to name him, and prayed “that the Lord may guide us as to his future in every way, and that he may be the Lord’s very own from the beginning.” And so, Longenecker became a Presbyterian minister. His first pastorate was 1954-57 in a three-church field in North Carolina, and he served pastorates in South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Retirement in 1994 took him back to Pulaski, Va., where he served as supply pastor until 2000. His ministry involved not only preaching, youth work, performing weddings and funerals, and administrative matters, but much hospital, sick, and member visitation, increasingly with his wife. He was active in each presbytery. He is remembered for his dry wit, godly character, concern for the souls and burdens of others, and love for family. He is survived by his dearly loved wife of 52 years, MaryGene Manning Longenecker (“If I had to do it all over again, I’d keep the wife the same!”), 5100 Sharon Rd., Apt. 316, Charlotte, NC 28210-4774; his older daughter, Susan L. Dawson (Mark); his younger daughter, Ruth L. Deligdisch (Glen); grandchildren, John and David Dawson and Amy and Peter Deligdisch; his sister, Dorothy Hopper [husband, the late Joseph Barron Hopper ’42]; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his sister, Alice Longenecker Vail, and his stepmother, Ruth Engler Longenecker.