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Harry A. Little

1930-2017

Published: June 21, 2017 12:00 AM

Harry A. Little of Sullivan, Maine and Green Valley, Arizona died June 12, 2017 after a long illness.

He was born November 20, 1930 in Newcomerstown, Ohio, the son of Irene Matchett Little and Melvin Little.

Harry A. Little

He was a proud member of Newcomerstown High School's class of 1948 where he was active in sports, music, and theater. He was a former member of Trinity Methodist Church and was active in the youth fellowship and youth choir.

In 1954 he married Joan Barnett Little, who survives.

He attended Ohio University, 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.

Harry Little served as a Photo Intelligence Officer (Ariel Photographer) in the Strategic Air Command, United States Air Force, and as an interpreter during the Korean and Cold Wars.

He began his professional career as a teacher at the Columbus State Institute, Columbus, Ohio in 1955 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 the Lee County Schools in Ft. Myers, Florida. While there he initiated and conducted a groundbreaking educational program in the Florida Penitentiary system.

He was Director of Special Education of the South Bend, Indiana public schools in 1959-1960, followed by his appointment as the State Director of Special Education for the Indiana Department of Education in 1960.

He accepted the position of Professor of Education at Illinois State University from 1964-1972. In 1970 he led a group of students and family on a two month program of study of facilities for persons with special needs in Europe and Scandinavia.

In the summer of 1967 he created the first Special Education program at the University of Maine in Orono. Falling in love with Maine, his family has returned every summer since.

In 1973, as Professor of Education at the Sage Colleges in Troy, New York he launched and directed the graduate and undergraduate programs in Special Education and supervised its student teachers. For 16 years during Sage's January term, he took students to study Special Education programs at the Universities of Reading and Manchester, as well as Bulmershe College in England and to Churchtown Farm Field Studies Center in Cornwall, England (a program combining scientific nature studies and challenging recreational programs for special needs students.)

He gave presentations at conferences throughout the U.S and Europe, including The Hague, Netherlands, the University of Norrkoping, Sweden, University of Oslo, Norway, and the University of Sterling, Scotland.

Dr. Little was named International Educator of the Year in 1978.

He was a member of several professional organizations, including the Council for Exceptional Children, the European Association on Special Education, and the American Association of University Professors.

Due to ill health, he retired in 1990 as Professor Emeritus of the Sage Colleges.

In the summer of 1983 through 1987, he and Mrs. Little owned and operated Flanders Bay Cabins in Sullivan, Maine.

In addition to his wife of 63 years, he is survived by his sons, David Little and wife Lynne, Steven Little; daughter; Christine Little and husband Mark Kmen; grandsons, Kyle, Patrick and Daniel Little, David (Jamila) and Adam Coulter; and granddaughters, Morgaine and Sedona Kmen, Heather Coulter Loflin (Brian), Jamie Coulter and Jennifer Coulter Holmwood (Kacey); as well as seven great grandchildren.

He is also survived by two brothers, Weldon Little (Mable) of Newcomerstown, and Donald Little (June) of Dover; 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 was a member of the B.P.O.E. Lodge 2556 and Newcomerstown American Legion Post 431.

He leaves this message for everyone:

"To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die. To honor my memory, please share a smile and a hug, give to the needy, lend a hand 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. A Celebration of Life is planned for later this summer. Interment will be at the Westlawn Cemetery, Newcomerstown, at a later date.

Donations in Harry's honor are very much appreciated and may be sent to The Special Olympics of Ohio, 3303 Winchester Pike, Columbus, Ohio 43232, or to The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, Great Rivers Affiliate, P.O.Box 15120 Chicago, Illinois 60693.


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