Obituary of Dr. Irene Duhart Long
Irene Duhart Long, M.D., was born on November 16, 1950 and she departed this life on August 4, 2020. She was the daughter of Andrew James Duhart and Heloweise Davis Duhart, sister and best friend to Ricardo “Ricky” Duhart. All have preceded her in death.
She was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from East High School. From her childhood years, she set her sights on the stars and was passionate about planes, space travel and biology. In 1973 she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Northwestern University. In 1977 she received her medical degree from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine followed by residencies at the Cleveland Clinic, Mt. Sinai Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, and Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, where she received her Master of Science degree in Aerospace Medicine.
In 1982, she began her esteemed career with NASA as a physician. In 1994 she was appointed Director of the Biomedical Operations and Research Office at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and in 2000 she was appointed Chief Medical Officer and Associate Director of Spaceport Services. At the height of her career, Dr. Long and her office provided medical services to astronauts and assured that the health of 18,000 workers, civil servants and contractors at KSC were not compromised. In 2010, she retired from NASA after a 31-year career.
Dr. Long was a trailblazer in her own right. In 1979 she became only the second civilian to enter the Wright State University School of Medicine’s aerospace medicine program. Most notably, in 2000 when she was appointed Chief Medical Officer at KSC, she became the first female and the first minority to serve in that role. Experiencing challenges throughout her career, she was keenly aware that she was in a male, non-minority dominated field which is why she was so proud to help create the Spaceflight and Life Sciences Training Program at KSC in partnership with Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), a program that encouraged more women and minority college students to explore careers in science.
Dr. Long received many distinguished honors and awards throughout her career. Among her many accolades she received: 1986 – Kennedy Space Center Federal Woman of the Year Award; Spacelab-Life Sciences Experiments Team Group Achievement Award; 1995 – Society of NASA Flight Surgeons Presidential Award; 1998 – Women in Aerospace Outstanding Achievement Award; 2001 – Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame; 2005 – Lifetime Achievement Award, Women of Color Technology Awards Conference; 2010 – Strughold Award, Space Medicine Association.
Outside of work she loved traveling to medical conventions and was often accompanied by her mother. She was a craft enthusiast and loved scrapbooking, creating dollhouse dioramas and miniatures and she loved to collect antique items. In her retirement some of her favorite pastimes were going to flea markets, garage sales and thrift stores with her brother Ricky.
She leaves behind to cherish her memories; aunt Estella Duhart of Cleveland Ohio, cousin Delphine Duhart Roberts of Springfield, VA, special friends and college roommates Dorothy Reed of Atlanta, GA, Novella “Vella” Sconyers of Colona, IL, adoptive family Glenda Carroll (Napoleon) and family of Titusville, FL as well a host of beloved family and friends who will deeply miss her.
A virtual memorial service is currently being planned in celebration of her life. For more information or to register for the virtual memorial visit: https://rememberingdrirene.wixsite.com/website