OBJECT(News Article) Jerilyn “Doc” Longeway, who with friends helped found a charity in the 1990s to help people with HIV and AIDS, died May 4 in her West Toledo home from complications of an asthma attack. She was 65.
Ms. Longeway retired in 2009 from H.O.T. Printing & Graphics, where she put her eagle eye and affinity for the printed word to work during a 30-year career.
“In the beginning she did everything, from typesetting to proofreading,” said her daughter, Wendy Dickson, who later worked the afternoon shift with her mother, who became a supervisor. “When it came to work, she knew how to get the job done.”
“Part of who she was was she had a big love for reading and writing,” added Jan Keween, who said that she and Ms. Longeway were soul mates nearly 25 years.
The last 13 years, Ms. Longeway tended bar at R-House, a West Toledo venue with a largely gay clientele.
“Somebody had a problem, and she’d talk to them,” her brother, Jim Willard, said. “She was like a counselor to people.”
Her advice was prized by regulars, but she made any patron comfortable.
“If you were a complete stranger who walked in the bar,” said Joe Wise, a longtime friend, “she’d introduce herself right away and say, ‘Don’t sit in the corner. Come sit at the bar by us.’ ”
After several friends’ AIDS-related deaths during the 1990s, Ms. Longeway, Ms. Keween, and several other women got together to discuss ways to help others.
“We were grieving through their passing,” Ms. Keween said. Their friends hadn’t sought assistance from Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome groups, Ms. Longeway told The Blade in 1995.
“Maybe they're too proud, or whatever. So basically, it was a woman thing. To show the guys we care,” Ms. Longeway said then.
The women formed Lend a Loving Hand and held benefits — the first was at the bar, Bretz — that featured entertainment and raffles. Ms. Longeway sent hundreds of handwritten letters to celebrities asking for support, and many sent items to be auctioned — perfume from Elizabeth Taylor; a tennis racquet from Martina Navratilova; a signed guitar pick from Melissa Etheridge.
The youngest person helped by the group was 7 years old; the oldest was 70.
“They were a group doing good,” her daughter said.
Ms. Longeway and Ms. Keween bowed out after several years.
Ms. Longeway was born July 23, 1947, to Mary Margaret and William Willard. She attended DeVilbiss High School and was a 1965 graduate of Start High School.
She bowled for years in The Blade Queens Traveling League and carried a 182 average. One of her teams was called the Wild Bunch.
“She was a natural bowler,” Ms. Keween said.
As a stay-at-home mother in the 1960s, she wrote jokes and sent them out to comedians. Rodney Dangerfield and Joan Rivers used her material, and she’d kept notes she received from both, family members said.
She was formerly married to the late Thomas Longeway.
Surviving are her daughter, Wendy Dickson; son, Eric Longeway; brother, Jim Willard, and seven grandchildren.
The family will greet friends from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday in the Rossford Eagles on Lime City Road, with a memorial service at 3 p.m.
The family suggests tributes to a charity of the donor’s choice.
Contact Blade Staff Writer Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182.