Stephanie M. "Estelle " Long
Died: Dec 10, 2014
Stephanie M. “Estelle” Long passed away December 10, 2014 after a prolonged struggle with dementia. She was 94.
Stephanie was born in Frackville on July 13, 1920 to Michael and Catherine (Terebienec) Naspinski. She was the ninth of thirteen children. When Stephanie was ten, her father passed away, forcing the large family to rely on their industry and ingenuity to survive the Great Depression. While many of her older siblings left school to work in mines and factories in order to support the family, Stephanie and her younger siblings picked and sold huckleberries as their contribution. The hardships of her childhood instilled in Stephanie a sense of determination (what she termed persistence, not stubbornness) that stayed with her through her final days.
Stephanie enjoyed school, especially reading and writing. She served on the Frackville High School yearbook staff before graduating in 1938 and took pride in the fact that she was able to teach her mother to sign her own name. After briefly working at the Flower Hospital in New York City, Stephanie worked at Sears in Pottsville, where she was the top salesperson in the store. There she met her husband-to-be, Willard B. Long, and they were married in 1943.
Willard and Stephanie made their home in Frackville and had four children together. Although she was a busy mother and homemaker, Stephanie’s childhood love of reading and writing never waned. She volunteered with the Frackville Free Public Library for over forty years. She also composed several short stories that were published in magazines. She worked hard to instill a love of reading, art and music in her children.
In addition to her literary activities, Stephanie volunteered with her church, Saint Ann’s in Frackville. She donated and arranged flowers for the altar, sang in the choir, and cooked meals for special occasions at the rectory. She also loved to garden. She transformed her yard on Broad Mountain Avenue into a colorful oasis of flowers, leaving Willard a tiny corner for his tomatoes. She generously shared cuttings of her plants with anyone who wanted them. Stephanie did all of her own gardening and yard work, including shoveling her own snow, until she was 89 years old.
Stephanie will be warmly remembered as a gracious hostess who offered visitors an abundance of homemade food, especially pierogies, halupkie and Paska bread, because she never wanted a guest to leave hungry; as a woman with a mischievous sense of humor who sent postcards to strangers because she thought they needed some excitement in their lives; as a hater of the rabbits eating her flowers; as a competitive pinochle player; and as a beloved mother, grandmother and friend.
Stephanie is survived by three of her children, Gregory (Mary Louise) Long of Atlanta, GA, Catherine (Jeff) Sketchley of Pleasanton, CA, and Stephanie (Shawn) Mehlenbacher of Corvallis, OR. She is also survived by her three grandchildren, Jamie (Dave) Steele of Manteca, CA, Sara Mehlenbacher of Pullman, WA, and Kurt Mehlenbacher of Boulder, CO; by her great-grandson, Jesse Biesecker of Middletown, PA; and by numerous nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her best friend of 82 years, Christine Pukas of Frackville. She was preceded in death by her husband, Willard, in 1995, by their son, Freddy, in 1949, and by all of her siblings.
The family would like to thank the caregivers at Rest Haven in Schuylkill Haven for their assistance during the last years of Stephanie’s life. The family would also like to thank Maryanne Van Horn for her warm visits and companionship.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 am Tuesday in St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church, Frackville, with Rev. Robert Finlan, pastor, as celebrant. Relative and friends are invited to a visitation from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday evening and again from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday morning at the Albert L. Gricoski Funeral Home. Interment will be in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Englewood/Frackville.
Memorial donations can be sent to the Frackville Free Public Library, 56 N Lehigh Ave, Frackville, PA 17931.