James Walter Long, physician and mayor of Port Arthur, Texas, was born on February 9, 1900, in Belton, South Carolina, the son of William Monroe and Fannie Leonora (Horton) Long. He received a bachelor of arts degree with honors from Furman University (Greenville, South Carolina) in 1919 and a medical degree from Tulane University in 1926. After an internship at Charity Hospital, he began the general practice of medicine at Port Arthur in 1928. He then moved successively to Gadsden, Alabama, and Del Rio, Texas.
From July 1930 until December 1951 Long served as medical director of the Gulf Oil Corporation refinery in Port Arthur. He was a member of the surgical staff of St. Mary's Hospital from 1930 to 1941 and served as president of the medical staff of Baptist Hospital. He was an infantryman during World War I and a physician with the United States Army Medical Corps during World War II. In 1945 he served as a surgeon on Iwo Jima. He received several awards for meritorious service during the two world wars. He continued military service as a lieutenant colonel in the Reserve Corps.
He was a member of numerous professional societies, including the Jefferson County Medical Society, the Texas Medical Association, the American Medical Association, the Southern Medical Association, the Texas Railway and Traumatic Surgical Association, the Industrial Medical Association, the American Academy of General Practice, and the American Academy of Occupational Medicine. He served as president of the Jefferson County Medical Society in 1940. He was chairman of the health committee of the Petroleum Section of the National Safety Council from 1938 until 1941 and vice chairman of the medical advisory committee of the American Petroleum Institute during 1952. He also wrote several papers dealing with industrial medicine.
Long served on the Port Arthur City Commission for two terms. He acted as mayor pro tem in 1947 and served as mayor between 1948 and 1950. He was a director of the YMCA for twelve years, the Salvation Army for three years, the Chamber of Commerce for three years, and the local Red Cross chapter for one year. He was a member of the Lions Club, the Masons, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, and the First Baptist Church; commander of the American Legion post; and a Shriner. Long married Ruth McDow, and they had a son. Long had just moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to become medical director of Gulf Oil Corporation, when he died suddenly of a heart attack in Pittsburgh on February 17, 1952.