Dr. Harry A. Little


Dr. Harry A. Little of Sullivan and Green Valley, Ariz., died June 12, 2017, after a long illness. He was born November 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’s 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 served as a Photo Intelligence Officer in the Strategic Air Command, United States Air Force during the Korean and Cold Wars.

He taught at the Columbus State Institute in Columbus, Ohio in 1955 – 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 Ft. Myers, Florida. He initiated and conducted an Adult Education program in the Florida Penitentiary system.

He was Director of Special Education of the South Bend, Indiana public schools in 1959 -1960, and the Indiana State Director of Special Education in 1960.

He was Professor of Education at Illinois State University from 1964-1972. 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.  Falling in love with Maine, his family has returned every summer since.

In 1973, he launched and directed the graduate and undergraduate programs in Special Education at the Sage Colleges in Troy, New York. For sixteen 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.)

Dr. Little 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 – 1987, he and Mrs. Little owned and operated Flanders Bay Cabins in Sullivan, Maine. During the 50 years of visiting and making his home in Maine, his favorite pastime was sitting on his porch enjoying the view of the bay, Cadillac Mountain, and the local working lobstermen. He had said, “Whenever I think of home, I think of Maine.”

He was a member of the B.P.O.E. Lodge 2556 and American Legion Post 431.

In addition to his wife of 63 years, he is survived by his son David Little (Lynne) of Troy, N.Y., son Steven Little of Salt Lake City, Utah, daughter Christine Little (Mark Kmen) of South China, Maine, 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 brothers Weldon Little (Mable) of Newcomerstown, Ohio and Donald Little (June) of 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 twenty five 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.

A Celebration of Life is planned for later this summer. Interment will be at the Westlawn Cemetery, Newcomerstown, Ohio, at a later date.

Memorials in Harry’s honor may be sent to The Special Olympics of Maine 125 John Roberts Road. #5 South Portland, Maine 04106,  or The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, Founders Affiliate, P.O.Box 417005 Boston, Ma.  02241-7005.

Know when to pay your respects.