Ned Long was the backbone of the Bowden Ford dealership in Alice, and those who knew him best say it was a role that he earned with a dedicated work-ethic and love for co-workers, friends and his community.

Long died Monday. He was 64.

Long was the general manager at Bowden Ford where he worked for 29 years. Long began working in auto sales at Thompson Motors. It was there that he began working with Lamar Bowden. The two eventually worked at Yates Ford. When Bowden bought the dealership, Long joined him and became his “right-hand man,” the Bowden family said.

Most recently, Long was responsible for fleet sales and overseeing the Bowden Ford dealership’s inventory, however, his role didn’t end there.

“He was always the last one to leave every day,” said Carrie Bowden del Alamo. “He was a huge part of our company in so many ways. Weird times like 4 or 5 in the morning to meet our drivers... he was there. There was so much behind the scene stuff that we’re still trying to figure it all out.

“He was like family. To my brothers and I, Ned was like a brother who was always there to help. And to our employees that have been here a long time and worked with him for so long, he was the most thoughtful and giving person.”

Bowden del Alamo said employees at the dealership were looking for photographs of Long the day after his passing. She said they were especially looking for photographs of Long dressed as Santa Claus, which was something he did during the holidays. She said it was a role that fit him perfectly.

“He was like Santa,” she said. “He would always buy our kids presents. He was just really thoughtful that way.”

Long was an active member of the community, and an avid supporter of the Boys and Girls Club of Alice.