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In loving memory of
Irene Duhart Long
  • November 16, 1950
  • -
  • August 04, 2020

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Obituary

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


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  1. 27 Aug 2020
    Jan Mayers lit a candle:
    Lit since August 27, 2020 at 8:44:40 PM

  2. 16 Aug 2020
    Dorothy Reed lit a candle:
    Lit since August 16, 2020 at 8:23:35 PM

  3. 16 Aug 2020
    Dorothy Reed lit a candle:
    Lit since August 16, 2020 at 8:06:46 PM

  4. 16 Aug 2020
    Dorothy Reed lit a candle:
    Lit since August 16, 2020 at 8:06:00 PM

  5. 16 Aug 2020
    "Gail P" lit a candle:
    Lit since August 16, 2020 at 8:05:24 AM

  6. 16 Aug 2020
    "Gail P" says:
    Irene - you were a phenomenal person. You were more than smart- you were brilliant. You were more than kind - always wanting to know how other people were doing rather that talk about yourself. You were a dreamer- and your dreams came true. You worked with the astronauts. You were a ground breaker- first Female Medical Director at Kennedy Space Center. You were so blessed. Glad to have known you. Rest In Peace my friend. "
    Gail P"

  7. 15 Aug 2020
    Laura Gosper says:
    Enjoyed working with Dr. Long. She always gave good advice - always a straight shooter. Am sure her family will miss her as we all do.

  8. 14 Aug 2020
    Burt Summerfield says:
    Irene you were an inspiration, leader, mentor and friend. Your contributions made a difference and you will be sincerely missed. May God bless your family and friends.

  9. 14 Aug 2020
    Tom Breakfield says:
    Condolences to Dr. Long's family. It was always a pleasure to work with Dr. Long. The interests of the population of KSC were always foremost in her actions, and her counsel and advice were much appreciated by all who worked with her.

  10. 14 Aug 2020
    Linda Rhode says:
    RIP Dr. Long! Thank you for always being kind to me at work. You always had a smile on your face and something nice to say. I will always remember your thoughtfulness and the NASA kinship we shared.

  11. 14 Aug 2020
    Michael Cardinale says:
    I was fortunate enough to work for Dr. Long when I came to work for NASA. She was a great mentor and friend and I will always look back fondly to the time I was a part of her workplace family. We all loved her and miss her greatly.

  12. 14 Aug 2020
    Ollivetta Roscoe lit a candle:
    Lit since August 14, 2020 at 8:51:58 AM

  13. 14 Aug 2020
    Joyce Rogers lit a candle:
    Lit since August 14, 2020 at 8:50:44 AM

  14. 14 Aug 2020
    Rebecca Sparks says:
    I will forever remember Irene and her smiling face at our scrapbooking crops. She was one of my most favorite cropping buddies and I will miss her dearly. I was so blessed to have known this very special lady.

  15. 14 Aug 2020
    Estella Duhart lit a candle:
    Lit since August 14, 2020 at 8:22:07 AM

  16. 13 Aug 2020
    Tim Moore says:
    A life well lived we miss your Doc. One of my very favorite people.

    Chief Moore

  17. 13 Aug 2020
    Karen Thomas lit a candle:
    Lit since August 13, 2020 at 8:54:55 AM

  18. 12 Aug 2020
    Gail Gaddis says:
    Irene and I were Pre-Med students at Northwestern University. Irene was a great friend and a wonderful study partner. She was definitely brilliant ,funny, and a First- Rate Star Trek fan. She was always wanting to work in the AeroSpace field. She went to St. Louis University Medical School. She was Board Certified in AeroSpace Medicine. She realized her life long dreams of working with the Astronauts . She became the first Female Medical Officer for NASA. She was an unselfish friend - she always wanted to know about YOUR family and how everyone was doing. She was a committed Christian woman- a jewel of a person. She is missed however, I know that she was welcomed into Heaven with smiles and love. Be at peace my friend , you were loved.

  19. 12 Aug 2020
    Dorothy Reed lit a candle:
    Lit since August 12, 2020 at 8:56:47 PM

  20. 12 Aug 2020
    Dorothy Reed lit a candle:
    Lit since August 12, 2020 at 8:55:57 PM

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