James Abell Longmore Jr., 65, Lexington Park

Friday, March 20, 2009

James Abell Longmore Jr., 65, of Lexington Park, formerly of Leonardtown, died March 16, 2009, peacefully at his home.

He is survived by Mary Ann (Weiland) Longmore, his wife for more than 39 years; his son and daugher-in-law, Chris and Katie (Raley) Longmore; five sisters, Rose Marie Weiland, Elsie Sullivan, Mary Lou Frain, Elizabeth Longmore and Marian Bowser; and three grandchildren, Zachary, Bella and Gabrielle, who call him "Pop Pop."

He was preceded in by death by his parents, James Abell Longmore Sr. and Rose Theresa Longmore; and his brother, William Leonard Longmore.

He was a lifelong resident of St. Mary's County, living most of his 65 years in Leonardtown. With his wife, he formerly owned and operated the Ben Franklin "five and dime" and variety store in Leonardtown, which was a family-owned business that was originally owned and operated by his parents and other family members. This business served as a retail center in the Leonardtown area for many years.

He served with honor in Vietnam. While in this service, he was a medic who provided aid to his fellow service men and women as well as others who had been injured during the war. After his return from Vietnam, he informally counseled many friends and others who had also been there.

He loved St. Mary's County and was active in his community. He was involved in many political campaigns and loved to be on the campaign trail, mostly because of how many people he got to meet. He was a charter member of the Leonardtown Volunteer Rescue Squad and previously served as its chief and president.

He was active in many other boards and organizations over the years, including Walden Sierra Inc., St. Mary's County Chamber of Commerce, St. Mary's County Nursing Center, St. Mary's County Recreation and Parks, Christmas in April-St. Mary's, the SMECO election and credential committee, Leonardtown Lions Club and Tri-County Group Homes Inc. He was the St. Mary's County Chamber of Commerce's "Businessperson of the Year" in 1987 and was the St. Mary's County Democratic Club's "Democrat of the Year" in 2006.

Later in life, he suffered with many physical ailments but did not allow those to alter his kind spirit or his desire to help others. He began volunteering with Hospice of St. Mary's and almost immediately this work became his passion. He spent many hours counseling and befriending both individuals who were close to death and their families.

Most of all, he loved to spend time with his family, including trips to Ocean City with his wife, performing one of his many "projects" around the house with his son, Chris, and talking for hours over a dinner or cookout. He had a strong faith and used this as his guide in the work he did for others and for the love he shared with his friends and family.

The family received friends March 19 at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Leonardtown, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated today, March 20, at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Immaculate Heart of Mary Cemetery in Lexington Park.

Arrangements are being handled by Brinsfield Funeral Home in Leonardtown.