The CEO of Well Care Home Health and Farmin’ Brands died Friday.
Wayne Long, 60, died surrounded by his family and loved ones, according to a news release from Well Care Home Health.
Long co-founded Well Care Health in 1987 and Farmin' Brands in 2011. He was a respected business leader and a visionary, the Long family said in the release.
The family's statement said, “He had great pride and joy in the professional families he worked with and the many business successes he was instrumental in building. Wayne was deeply committed to giving back to his community, including service to organizations such as Elderhaus, the University of North Carolina school system, and multiple local youth baseball organizations. In addition, he supported numerous local scholarship grants and provided a wide range of philanthropic gifts to charitable organizations.
“Wayne will be remembered for his passion for life and family, the genuine and giving way he treated people, for living life on his own terms, and the positive impact he had on all of those around him. While we mourn the loss of a great man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and honor the tremendous legacy of accomplishment and kindness he leaves behind. We are consoled by the wealth of cherished memories and shared remembrances with friends and family."
Long was born in Newberry, South Carolina, and grew up in Brunswick County, the son of a traveling salesman and successful businessman.
Long earned a degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. After graduating, he worked in the family business before gaining experience in banking and finance through his employment with Federal Land Bank, according to a biography on Well Care's website.
Under Long's direction as chief executive officer, Well Care has grown in census, services and geography, officials said in his biography.
As a previous member of the Elderhaus Inc. Board of Directors, Long left behind a legacy with the organization, Rick Richards, CEO of Elderhaus Inc., said Monday.
“First of all, we are extremely sad and just kind of taking it all in at the moment. Wayne was very special to all of us and I think for me, with the work we do at Elderhaus … Wayne’s work in the health care world focused on home care and that work of providing extremely valuable care to elderly and disabled citizens in this community -- in a home setting -- is really a living legacy he leaves behind in North Carolina,” Richards said.
Though Long had rotated off the board about a year ago, Long was still acting in the role of a “good advisor” for both Elderhaus staff and board members from time to time, Richards said.
“I think his legacy to the community is so important. His good nature and ability to communicate well with individuals was apart of his great work ethic. And I know he contributed greatly to the success and development of the Elderhaus program … Elderhaus is forever indebted to that contribution,” Richards added.
Long's legacy was also echoed by those at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
"The news of Wayne’s death rocked me as I am sure it did the Wilmington Health and Human Services Community. Wayne was not only a dedicated professional, he was my friend," said Charles J. Hardy, the founding dean and professor at UNCW's College of Health and Human Services, in an email.
"He constantly urged me to think outside of the box and to roll up my sleeves and get it done," Hardy said. "His commitment to excellence and his love for the people of our region will be what I hold on to as I mourn the passing of my colleague and friend."
Long is survived by his wife, Tanya, three sons, his parents and his sister.
“We are deeply saddened by his sudden passing. We have lost a passionate leader, a mentor, friend and father figure. Often referred to as our ‘fearless leader,’ he will be remembered as one of the most inspirational entrepreneurs of our time. His vision will continue to guide each of us as we carry on Wayne's legacy,” Well Care officials said in the release.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at Andrews Market Street Chapel, 1617 Market St., according to Long's obituary on the Andrews Mortuary website
A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20 at First Baptist Church, 411 Market St. The Long family will receive friends at the church from 1 p.m. until the service hour. Interment will follow at Oleander Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Wayne’s memory to NC Baptist Disaster Relief via First Baptist Church or a charity of one’s choice.