Joe R. Long was born in San Antonio, Texas on January 13, 1930. He lived as a child in Sonora, Texas, Oakwood, Texas, and Centerville, Texas, where he graduated from high school in 1947. He attended Tarleton State College, and graduated from The University of Texas in 1951 with his B.A. in Government and a Minor in History and Anthropology. While at school at UT, he completed his ROTC training. Upon graduation, he was immediately called into the service during the Korean War.
He served as a Military Police Officer until August 1953, ending at the rank of First Lieutenant. He then worked for a year as a salesman with National Cash Register Company and Bauer and Black, a maker of bandages and adhesive tape. After teaching high school in Alice, Texas for a year, he entered The University of Texas School of Law in June 1956. He graduated from the Law School in 1958.
In September 1958, Mr. Long was employed by the State Securities Board as an investigator, investigating securities fraud throughout the state of Texas. He successfully participated in the first criminal prosecution under the new securities law in 1959 in Plainview, Texas. That same year, he was made Chief of the Enforcement Division of the State Securities Board.
In January 1963, Mr. Long joined the Office of the Attorney General as an Assistant Attorney General in the Bond, Insurance, and Banking Division. In 1964 he was made Chief of the Bond, Insurance, and Banking Division. During his tenure in the Office of the Attorney General, participated in numerous trials and in numerous appellate cases principally in the area of banking, savings & loan, insurance, and securities.
In May 1965, Long entered the private practice of law in Austin, specializing in Administrative Law. He worked as a sole practitioner, then a member of several partnerships, eventually organizing his own law firm and continuing his specialized practice of banking, savings & loan, insurance, and securities law until 1988. Mr. Long was part of a group that organized two banks in Austin-First State Bank and Community National Bank. He became Chairman of both banks and bought control of both banks. In 1988, those banks were able to acquire seven more banks, and all were combined in 1989 under the name of First State Bank. Mr. Long ceased to practice law and served as Chairman and CEO of First State Bank from 1989 until 1998, when the bank was sold to Norwest Corporation, now Wells Fargo Corporation. He consulted for Wells Fargo until August 2000. Since then he has overseen his private business affairs and has spent much of his time with many philanthropic activities with colleges and universities in Texas, as well as several nonprofit organizations. Mr. Long is the 2003 recipient of the Law School’s Honorary Order of the Coif award. Mr. Long, among other awards, has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Texas, as well as the Presidential Citation Award.