Dr. Harry A. Little of Sullivan, Maine; Green Valley, Ariz.; and formerly of Bloomington-Normal, died June 12, 2017, in Farmingdale, Maine, after a long illness.
He was born Nov. 20, 1930, in Newcomerstown, Ohio, the son of Irene and Melvin Little. In 1954 he married Joan Barnett Little, who survives.
He was a graduate of Newcomerstown High School class of 1948.
He received his bachelor of arts degree in elementary and secondary education and his master’s degree in special education from The Ohio State University and his doctorate in special education from Indiana University. He completed postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Connecticut and the University of Arizona.
He served as a photo intelligence officer in the Strategic Air Command, U.S. Air Force during the Korean and Cold wars.
He taught at the Columbus State Institute in Columbus, Ohio, from 1955 to 1957, and was a pioneer in the de-institutionalization of special needs students. He served as teacher and coordinator of job placement programs for special education students in Fort Myers, Fla. He initiated and conducted an adult education program in the Florida penitentiary system.
He was director of special education of the South Bend, Ind., public schools from 1959 to 1960, and the Indiana State director of special education in 1960.
He was professor of education at Illinois State University from 1964 to 1972. In 1971, he led students on a two-month study program of facilities for physically and mentally challenged persons in Europe and Scandinavia. In 1967, he created the first special education program at the University of Maine in Orono.
In 1973, he launched and directed the graduate and undergraduate programs in special education at the Sage Colleges in Troy, N.Y. For 16 years he took students to study programs in England at the universities of Reading and Manchester, as well as Bulmershe College and to Churchtown Farm Field Studies Center, a program combining scientific nature studies and challenging recreational programs for special needs students.
Harry gave presentations at conferences throughout the U.S. and Europe and in 1978 was named International Special Educator of the Year.
Due to ill health, he retired in 1990 as professor emeritus of the Sage Colleges.
In the summers of 1983 to 1987, he and Joan owned and operated Flanders Bay Cabins in Sullivan, Maine.
He was a member of the BPOE Lodge 2556 and American Legion Post 431. He was a former member of Calvary United Methodist Church.
In addition to his wife of 63 years, he is survived by his son, David (Lynne) Little, Troy, N.Y.; son, Steven Little, Salt Lake City, Utah; daughter, Christine (Mark Kmen) Little, South China, Maine; 10 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; brothers, Weldon (Mable) Little, Newcomerstown, Ohio; and Donald (June) Little, Dover, Ohio; and many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews.
Harry was known for his great sense of humor, his stories, his positive outlook on life and his courage through many serious illnesses and surgeries. He treasured time with family and dear friends and was a loving and devoted husband, dad and grandpa. He enjoyed travel, whether international or on local country roads. He loved the coast of Maine and the beauty of the Southwest, where he and Joan divided each year for the past 25 years. He also enjoyed visiting galleries of the artwork of these areas and artifacts of Native American culture. He loved golf, his hometown and was a loyal Ohio State Buckeye.
He leaves this message for everyone:
“To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die. To honor someone’s memory, please share a smile and a hug, give to the needy, lend an ear and care about those less fortunate than yourself.”
His devotion to education continues, as he has donated his body for study at the University of New England College of Medicine.
Memorials in Harry’s honor may be sent to the Special Olympics of Illinois State Headquarters, 605 E. Willow St., Normal, IL 61761, or The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Midwest Affiliate, 3816 Paysphere Circle, Chicago, IL 60674.