MANCHESTER - Former Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) President Gary Long died today after a sudden illness, according to a release issued late Friday afternoon.
Long, 63, left the presidency last year to focus on the Northern Pass project. He retired from PSNH on June 3.
"It is with great sadness that the PSNH family learned of former president Gary Long's passing Friday afternoon after a sudden illness," said PSNH Spokesperson Lauren Collins in a statement. "Everyone here and at Northeast Utilities extends their thoughts and prayers to his beloved wife, children and grandchildren. He was a dear friend to many who worked with him both at the company and in the community and was respected throughout New Hampshire for his intelligence, humor, and passion."
Long, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, joined Public Service of New Hampshire in 1976 as an assistant engineer. He served for 38 years and led the company as President and Chief Operating Officer from 2000 - 2013. Collins said his contributions to the company were many, including a key role in the restructuring of the electric utility industry in New Hampshire, and participation in the development of the state's Climate Action Plan.
PSNH was named a Best Company to Work For the year after Long took over as president and he was named Business Leader of the Year in 2006 by Business NH Magazine.
"He set the tone for employees, helping to advance the work of numerous nonprofit, community, and economic development organizations in the state and was the current chairman of the Granite United Way board of directors," said Collins. "Gary was fiercely dedicated to everything he approached in life and while we enjoyed his passion for his job, nothing could take priority over his family and faith. We will continue to treasure the lessons he taught us and offer our sincerest condolences to those who knew him best."
State Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, said he worked closely with Long during electricity deregulation in 2001.
“I found him to be an honest, hardworking guy who represented his company well,” D’Allesandro said. “Obviously, it was with great sadness that I heard of his passing.”
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said Long’s passing is a loss for the state.
“Gary was a dedicated, hardworking, and passionate business and civic leader whose commitment to making New Hampshire a better place to live will not be forgotten. I was sad to hear of his sudden passing and my thoughts are with his family and loved ones,” Shaheen said in a statement.
Gov. Maggie Hassan also issued a statement on the passing of Long.
"Tom and I are saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Gary Long, who throughout his career worked to strengthen communities and make our state a better place to live.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gary's family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time. He will be missed."
Details of funeral arrangements for Long are expected to be released in the coming days.