Jim DeLong was born on St. Simons Island when his father was stationed at the Naval Air Station here at the end of World War II. Starting before his first birthday, Jim lived as a Navy brat, moving around the country with his family. Primarily, the DeLongs lived in Illinois and Ohio. It was in Ohio that he and Nancy met on a blind date.
Both had meaningful careers in Ohio, where Jim worked in international human resources for General Tire and later for Rubbermaid. He was also enlisted on a destroyer, served as a Navy Reserve officer and was the Commanding Officer of the Naval Intelligence Units at NAF Detroit and Wright Patterson AFB. Nancy, meanwhile, was a dedicated educator, devoting herself to teaching elementary-aged students.
While visiting St. Simons Island in 2006, the DeLongs were enjoying a Mo-Town concert at the Lighthouse. During the event, a shrimp boat steamed by under a full moon, and a gentle breeze blew in off the Atlantic. That serene moment inspired the couple to pack up their lives in the Midwest and head to east. Retirement, warmer climates, and the beauty of the island drew them to coastal Georgia.
Since moving to St. Simons full-time, Jim and Nancy have become deeply involved in the community. Jim currently enjoys time as a docent at the new WWII Home Front Museum, and both he and Nancy have served on the boards of the Historical Society, the Glynn Visual Arts, the Coastal Georgia Humane Society, and Golden Isles Youth Orchestra. Nancy also served on the United Way Community Allocation Committee, and Jim served on the board of Golden Isles Arts and Humanities. In addition, Jim heads up the DeLong-Sweet Family Foundation, which has provided grants for land acquisitions and improvement projects over the last decade. He is joined on the family foundation by Nancy and his brother, Wyck.
A little more than a year ago, Wyck moved to St. Simons from California. He, too, appreciates the quiet and serenity of the Golden Isles and has become a Land Trust member.
Jim and Nancy love spending time with their dogs, painting, and visiting their home in North Carolina. They support the Land Trust not only to benefit St. Simons Island but also Brunswick. “Anything that helps Brunswick improve its economic profile also benefits St. Simons. It is a win-win for both communities.”