Colleagues remember him as the chief who led the Rock Hill Police Department through rapid growth and progress - but did so without the "smoke and whistles."
Clyde Long, Rock Hill's longest-serving police chief, died Wednesday after a battle with cancer. He was 76.
Long served with Rock Hill police for 34 years - 15 as chief.
"He was one of the last of the good guys," said Charles Cabaniss, who retired from the police department in 2009. "He was more than a supervisor, more than a boss.
"He was more like a father figure to me and a lot of other officers."
Those officers respected Long for his leadership and ability to solve crimes, Cabaniss said.
Even his family remembers him as "low key."
Long "never did care about the spotlight," said his son, Frank Long, recalling how his father would send other police officers to accept awards for the department instead of going himself.
Long joined the force as a foot patrolman in 1960, "when drugs were just something you heard about," he told The Herald when he retired in 1994. He made the detective division by 1961 and lieutenant by 1975.
He was promoted to police chief after John Hunsucker retired in 1979 and made incremental, yet significant, changes to the force, said Rock Hill Police Lt. Jerry Waldrop, who worked under Long.
Long's accomplishments included creating a narcotics unit, a juvenile division, a crime-scene unit and an award-winning SWAT team.
He also helped get new technology and equipment. Waldrop remembers getting a walkie-talkie, which allowed cops walking a beat in the city to communicate without running to a call box.
Meanwhile, Waldrop said, "the city was growing by leaps and bounds."
The force grew from 26 officers to a total of 99 while Long was chief.
Many of the changes Long set in motion are now cornerstones of police work, Rock Hill Police Chief John Gregory said, but at the time they were "revolutionary."
Long provided a new style of leadership, moving away from a "paramilitary management" style common back then, Gregory said. He was known for treating all officers - no matter the rank - fairly, Gregory and Waldrop said, and he encouraged officers to treat citizens the same way.
Long's career had darker moments.
Three officers were killed in the line of duty during his tenure as chief. That included his partner, William Singleton, who was shot while helping a woman at a restaurant.
Long and Singleton had just split up for a meal break.
It was only at these times when Long's career seeped into his family life.
"We probably never sensed how really dangerous the work was," said his son, Mitch Long.
Most of the time, he said, they just thought their father's career was "neat."
"We also knew it would be hard to hide anything," he said jokingly.
Instead of the tough cop, Long's family remembers the embarrassed man who accidentally cut off the tip of his toe with a lawnmower just a short time before he was sworn in as chief.
He was also the grandfather who slipped his grandchildren money when no one was looking, or loaded up a passenger van with several generations and hit the road.
And on the rare occasion Long didn't insist on driving, "he would hand-pick" the driver - quite an honor, grandson Brian Lucas recalled.
The family traveled to the beach and to baseball games, said Long's wife, said Jane Long. They enjoyed piling in at the fish camp for family dinners out - "a real treat," she said.
Long was also popular with his officers, Cabaniss said.
"Everybody always wanted to play for Clyde," who coached a softball team every year, he said.
"You can't say enough good things about Clyde."