PURCELL–Wendell Little, 84, of Purcell (formerly of Heavener) passed away Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018 and was born March 12, 1934 in Mansfield, Arkansas, the baby boy and first of 12 children born to Ivy and Lucy (Livingston) Little.
The Littles settled in Heavener where Wendell attended school. While in the seventh grade, Wendell met a young lady that would change his life forever. On a bus trip to a state band trip, Wendell answered a dare to sit by Betty Jo Thornton, a majorette in the band. He accepted, and never stopped asking her for dates.
Wendell graduated from Heavener High School in 1953 and then attended the Southwestern State College in Weatherford. While in school there, he answered the call to serve, and just like his seven brothers, he served his country proudly. Wendell joined the United States Air Force, training in radio and radar.
On March 4, 1956, Wendell and Betty were married at the First Methodist Church in Heavener. Not too long after, Wendell was shipped out for an 18-month tour in France. After returning, Wendell and Betty made their home in Oklahoma City and Wendell began taking classes at the University of Oklahoma.
But once again, the call to serve began tugging at Wendell’s heart, and he decided to follow his dreams and attend mortuary school. They first lived in Heavener where he served his apprentice, and Wendell completed his course work at the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science.
Wendell and Betty moved to Stigler in 1960, and Wendell was employed by Mallory Funeral Home. It was here that they added baby girl Wendelyn in 1961 and a son, Kevin, in 1963. Followed by short stints in Poteau and Magnolia, Arkansas, and in Norman, the Littles settled in Purcell.
Wendell and Betty purchased the Conner-Sparlin Funeral Home, and in 1977, Little’s Funeral Home was established. Wendell worked hard serving Purcell and the surrounding communities. He served with kindness and compassion, and he blessed many families generationally. In the late 1980s, Wendell oversaw the completion of a new chapel, it still stands today, serving families in their time of need. In 1993, Wendell and Betty welcomed Tim and Gale Wilson to Little’s Funeral Home, and in 1995, they retired from the business.
Although retired, Wendell remained active in the community. He was a longtime member of the Purcell Rotary Club and active in the Oklahoma Funeral Director Association. He worked a little here and there for Millsap Electric and later for Havenbrook Funeral Home in Norman. He was a longtime and faithful member of the Trinity United Methodist Church and remained active in various church activities and functions.
Wendell was an avid sports fan. He loved catching a good baseball game, and never missed an opportunity to see his beloved Cardinals play. Those who know him accept that he has been a diehard Sooner fan, and he wore his colors proudly. Wendell could be stern and a little ornery, but his heart was true and his intentions pure.
Life had changed dramatically the last couple of years for Wendell as his health began to fail. He so longed to be back in his own home and to have the independence he was used to, and it hurt him to not be able to care for Betty. Rest well faithful servant.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ivy and Lucy Little; three sisters Eula Mae Little, Delora Akin and Jane Kaufman; and six brothers Herman, Neal, Bob, John, Charles and Bill.
Surviving family members are his best friend and life partner, Betty Jo Little; daughter, Wendelyn Little DeMoss of Edmond; son, Kevin Little, of Happy Valley, Oregon; sister, Iva Lou Scrivner, of Granbury, Texas; brother, Oren Little, of Norman; seven grandchildren; four great grandchildren,
and a host of other family and friends.
Funeral Services are Monday at 10 a.m. at the Wilson-Little Funeral Home Chapel. Burial will follow at the Hillside Cemetery in Purcell. Send online condolences on wilsonlittle.com. In lieu of flowers the family requests gifts to the Trinity United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, 211 N. 2nd, Purcell, OK 73080.
Family will receive friends Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m. at Wilson-Little Funeral Home.