John LittleJuly 27, 1931 ~ November 11, 2017 (age 86)
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of John Stanley Little, PhD, beloved husband and father, who died peacefully in his sleep after a brief illness on November 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida. He was 86.
A proud Maritimer and Canadian, John was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada on July 27, 1931 to Ada Philomena Boucher and George Everett Little. He was the youngest of their five children. He grew up in Campbellton, New Brunswick where from a very young age, he excelled in academics, music and sports and won many awards and prizes in all these categories. The most coveted of these awards was the Governor General’s Academic Award which he received as a high school senior for scoring the highest marks in the province of New Brunswick. Upon graduation from high school where he was also valedictorian and captain of the basketball team, John attended the University of New Brunswick and graduated with an honours degree in Chemistry in 1952 followed by a PhD in Organic Chemistry in 1955. After graduating from UNB, he received a Lord Beaverbrook scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships in Canada, to go overseas to attend London University in England for a post-doctoral fellowship.
While returning to Canada via a transatlantic boat crossing in August of 1956, he met a young English nurse and midwife, Pamela Norris, who was on her way to a nursing assignment in Canada. They immediately fell in love and became engaged in December of the same year. They were married in Montreal the following year where they spent their first year of marriage. Shortly thereafter, they moved to Kingston, Ontario where John had been offered a job as a research chemist and where they had their only child, James.
After 13 years of married life in Canada, John and Pam moved with James to Charlotte, North Carolina in 1970 where they lived very happily for eight years. Rising quickly through the ranks to become an executive in the chemical industry, John went on to accept high profile jobs in New York City (living in Westport, Connecticut) and West Lafayette, Indiana (living in Lafayette). Jobs during that time included Vice President of Great Lakes Chemical Corporation and Chief Executive of Wil Laboratories, Inc. His final professional position was serving as the CEO of Associated Octel, an English company and the world’s leading producer of brominated chemicals. With their corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities in two different locations in England, John and Pam resided in both London and Chester, a dream situation. Under John’s leadership at Octel, sales and profits grew by approximately 300 percent.
Through intelligence, hard work, patience and talent John was able to achieve much success, all the while remaining modest and unpretentious. One of his most noted accomplishments is that he was the inventor of the polyester polymers and fiber for tires which has subsequently been adopted throughout much of the world as the standard of body reinforcement in passenger tires. As a means of giving back, he created the John S. Little International Study Fellowship at his alma mater, UNB. He created the scholarship because he felt he had benefited so much from his studies abroad. It is awarded to deserving students who would like to study outside of Canada and it will go on in perpetuity.
John’s international business career allowed him and Pam to travel extensively throughout the world which they enjoyed very much during their long and happy 60 year marriage. Upon retirement in 1995, they moved to Naples where they had owned a vacation condominium since 1983. They also bought a summer home in Linville Ridge, North Carolina in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains which they owned for almost 15 years. During his life, John was a member of Royal Poinciana Golf Club, Naples Yacht Club, Grey Oaks Country Club, Linville Ridge Country Club, Eaton Golf Club (owned by the Duke of Westminster) and Carmel Country Club. He was a fellow in the Chemical Institute of Canada and while in England, he was a Director for the Chemical Industry Museum Trust. The University of New Brunswick awarded him an honorary doctorate of science degree in 2000 to honor his numerous accomplishments as a distinguished alumnus.
John was a kind, loving and generous man who will be remembered for his ever-present smile and his immense love of family. He also loved his wife’s home cooking, travel, good red wine or a tasty scotch, baseball, classical and big band music, salmon, historical biographies, the beach, politics, hockey, his three daily newspapers, and good chocolate.
John is survived by his devoted wife, Pamela and cherished son, James, who will miss him desperately but continue to celebrate his life, love and memory. He also leaves behind his dear sister Edna Knock, many special nieces and nephews and his beloved dog, Zoe, whom he loved and adored for the joy and affection she brought him every day. He was predeceased by his parents and older brothers George, Frank and Carl.
A memorial service will be held to honor John’s life on Saturday, November 18th at 3:00 pm at Fuller Funeral Home on Pine Ridge Road.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Salvation Army, a charity that was always very important to him.