Under a tree at Heavenly, overlooking Carson Valley, stands a memorial for Gardnerville resident Joseph Longo.
Longo, 61, died of injuries he received in an Aug. 20 accident.
“It’s where he would have wanted to be. He loved to ski,” longtime friend Marianne Amole said of spreading his ashes on the mountainside. “He’s on the mountain where he belongs.”
Amole, a Pennsylvania resident, met Longo 25 years ago through their mutual passion for skiing.
“He was a wonderful person and it’s such a tragedy his lifelong dream was cut short so quickly. It’s really sad,” she said. “He was a very kind and soft-hearted person, although he didn’t want people to see it.”
Longo lived most of his life in East Hanover, NJ. He retired at the age of 45; however, he remained very active in athletics and began his own consulting business.
“Joe’s lifelong dream was always to move to the Lake Tahoe area when his daughter went to college. He had been telling me this for over 20 years,” Amole said. “He was so anxious to move out there that he tried to persuade his daughter to move with him and go to college out there, but she didn’t want to do that so he waited.”
Longo realized his dream and moved to Gardnerville in November 2011.
“Joe was passionate about skiing and since moving out there skied on average three to four times a week. He was an expert skier and loved to ski in the trees,” Amole said. “He was ready for ski season to begin. He had set a goal for himself to ski a minimum of a million vertical feet each year.”
According to Amole, Longo also enjoyed biking.
“Joe was an excellent biker. He loved biking the beautiful beaches around Lake Tahoe. He was very safety conscious,” she said. “He was not reckless or careless. He rode his bicycle a minimum of 20 miles, if not more, each and every day. If the weather was prohibitive, he rode his stationary bike.”
Longo also loved animals and after settling in, he went to the Douglas County Animal Care & Services, and adopted Archie, a dog who had been in the shelter for two years.
“Joe was honest, responsible, caring and had a great sense of humor. He loved to tease people and very often would convincingly pull my leg,” Amole said. “Most of all Joe was a great friend. He would do anything to help anybody.”
Two memorial services were held for Longo in New Jersey in September and October.