William J. Little, 86, of Scranton died Wednesday at the Green Ridge Health Care Center after an illness.
Born Jan. 17, 1931 in Carbondale, son of the late George T. and Loretta Bechtlofft Little, he was the husband of the late Margaret Mary Baeurle Little, who died Jan. 23, 2011.
He and Margaret enjoyed a vibrant relationship over five decades, highlighted by mutual delight and devotion. They were married on Aug. 19, 1959.
He was graduated from St. Rose High School, Carbondale, and earned bachelor of arts and master of science degrees at the University of Scranton. He received a certificate of advanced study degree in guidance and counseling from the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
A voracious reader, he enjoyed a lifelong pursuit of knowledge in a wide spectrum of interests. He was informed and comfortable discussing subjects as diverse as Richard Wagner’s operas, Stephen Hawking’s theory of quantum mechanics, and the hitting skills of his boyhood hero, Ted Williams, the Boston Red Sox slugger. Kind and friendly, he enjoyed sharing coffee and visiting with friends regularly at local establishments.
As a pitcher at St. Rose, he struck out 21 hitters in a 1-0 loss to Venard College. The feat gained wire service coverage because the final batter to strike out scored the winning run in the ninth inning after reaching base on a passed ball and advancing on a throwing error. He gained all-star status several times as a pitcher for Simpson (Fell Twp.) in the old North End League, the successor to the Northeastern Pennsylvania League.
He was an English teacher in Whitney Point, N.Y., Mount Holly, N.J., and Lake Ariel and spent most of his career as a teacher and guidance counselor in West Orange, N.J., while residing in Bloomfield, N.J. He also taught graduate courses at Jersey City State College. He served apprenticeships as a psychologist in Newton, Mass. public schools and Walpole (Mass.) State Prison. He also worked for a few years as a representative for Waddell & Reed Investment Co.
He served overseas in the Army as a surveyor for the 1st Infantry Division (Big Red One) along the East German and Czech borders during the height of the Cold War. He taught at Army Division Survey School, and high school equivalency courses at the U.S. Armed Forces Institute.
He was a member of Immaculate Conception Parish.
The family expresses its gratitude to Hospice of the Sacred Heart staff, especially Jeanne Sembrat and Melissa Smith.
Surviving are nieces and nephews, William J. Mang and wife, Donna, Scranton; Robert E. Mang and wife, Kathleen, Ellicott City, Md.; Annmarie Baeurle Borcky and husband Richard, Garnet Valley; Michael Baeurle and wife, Rebecca, Chadds Ford; James Baeurle, and wife, Courtney, and a brother-in-law, Eugene A. Baeurle, all of Rehobeth Beach, Del., grand and great-grand nieces and nephews.
He was also preceded in death by two sisters, Marguerite Little Mang and Loretta B. Little, and a niece, Marguerite Mang Patrick.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday at 10 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church, 801 Taylor Ave.
Interment, Cathedral Cemetery.
Friends may call at the church from 9 a.m. until Mass time.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice of the Sacred Heart, 600 Baltimore Drive, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 18702.