The Long Family History

The Long family history in Valley Junction began when David and Viola Eppright moved the south side of Des Moines to work at the old Hawkeye Cement Company, later known as Marquette and Monarch Cement. Johnny E. Long Jr. is the son of their daughter Mae Ella and John Long Sr. Johnny had seven siblings (John, Betty, Lucille, Robert and Patricia, Marion Eppright and Jackie Logan). Due to the pollution emitted by cement plant, the family moved to the one hundred block of 6th Street in Valley Junction when Johnny was ten years old.

The Longs loved their community as though it were their family by blood.

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In 1927 Alonzo Page married Jencie Mae Reeves. Together they later raised Dorothy Lee (Hawkins), Geraldine (Allison), Barbara (Long), Shirley (Ramirez), Sheila (Pedigo), Gerald, and Deborah. In the early spring of 1942, Alonzo joined the janitorial staff at the Armstrong Rubber Manufacturing Company in Des Moines. After a few months of the work-a-day routine, his fascination for cooking again came to the surface. So to help make ends meet, he opened a small barbecue establishment, Blue Jays, in his Valley Junction home. His specialties were barbecued ribs, beef, ham, and wild game all smothered in his delicious secret sauce. Alonzo retired from Armstrong in the early 1960’s. But he continued to cook at Blue Jays until the late 1960’s. Feeding the masses was something that was imbedded in Barbara Jean.

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