It is a sign of the cluelessness of the children hired by the Arizona Republic that its headline online says, "Valley philanthropist John F. Long dies at 87." It's a little like saying "Former cowboy actor Ronald Reagan dies." Fortunately the obituary is in the hands of one of the few graybeards that haven't been run out by "the information center," Chuck Kelly.
John F. Long was a towering figure among the giants who built Phoenix from a small farm town into the nation's fifth largest city. With Maryvale, he not only brought affordable, pleasant suburbia to post-war Phoenix, he paved the way for thousands of ex-GIs to own their homes. He was an innovator of national consequence, but unlike some who followed him in Phoenix development, he stayed close to his roots. He was a civic steward, city councilman, a man who loved to tend his burros in retirement and whose life was rich in stories and lore. And yes, he was also a philanthropist.
Long's life also paralleled the rise and decline of the post-war automobile suburb.