John Wesley Little, founder, began "J. W. Little & Son" on 110 North Queen Street in Littlestown, Pennsylvania in April 1918. Little did he realize, three generations would follow. His son, Richard Alexander, whom was ever present, supposedly conducted his first funeral at age 13! (He was tall for his age!) A 1928 graduate of Eckels College of Embalming & Science in Philadelphia, he would become the owner until 1974. The Funeral Home would move twice more - to 49 East King Street, across from Alpha Fire Company and again to its present location at 34 Maple Avenue in 1939. This current building was previously a two-family dwelling and was converted into a funeral home.
Along the way, Grandpa had married Mary (Smeak) Little and, according to Grandma, was even late for his own wedding due to a funeral! My grandmother learned to help and "keep the door" at viewings and played the organ at funerals. In 1974 ,Dick, Sr., then worked for his son and daughter-in-law, Richard, Jr. & Shirley (Hawk) Little. "Dick, Jr." & Shirley were co-owners originally, and eventually Dick, Jr. would become sole proprietor with both equally active in their work. Dick, Sr. would continue as he loved serving his community until Nov 1988 at age 81.
John Wesley Little
Lillian (Slinghoff) Little
Richard A. "Dick" Little Sr.
Mary (Smeak) Little
Dick Little Sr.
Richard Little Sr., Lillian (Slinghoff) Little,
John Wesley Little, Ed Little (from left to right)
Richard A. "Dick" Little, Jr. and Shirley (Hawk) Little
Richard A. "Dick" Little, Jr. and
Shirley (Hawk) Little
Richard Little Sr. and
Richard A. "Dick" Little, Jr.
(from left to right)
Littles Funeral Home during 1965
My parents were still very active and I (Lee Ann and fourth generation) became owner along with husband, John D. Study, in 1998. Sadly, Dad died in Jan. 2011 and today we have three licensed funeral directors to serve our patrons which is rare in a small, family-owned funeral home. We are blessed to have James "Jim" Study, our brother and "right hand man", who assists us with all phases of funeral service. His help has been invaluable to us. Grove Bankert, John Roser, Wayne Sentz, Don Crabbs and Brett Dillman assist us and play an intricate part during Viewings and Funeral Services.
Richard A. "Dick" Little, Jr. (Dad died Jan. 13, 2011)
Richard was a 1949 graduate of Littlestown High School and a 1953 graduate of Gettysburg College, where he majored in Business Administration. He served in the Army from 1953-1955 and was a veteran of the Korean War. He taught school in Carroll County, MD from 1957-1971 and received his Master's Degree from Western Maryland College. He graduated with honors from Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in 1972 earning a LEFD (Licensed Embalmer & Funeral Director) degree and was the third generation owner of Little’s Funeral Home from 1974 – 1998. He was married to Shirley (Hawk) Little in 1954, has a son Gregg, a daughter Lee Ann and three granddaughters, Rachel, Alex and Olivia. He loved spending time with his family, raising bantams, pigeons and watching sporting events.
Shirley (Hawk) Little – Licensed Funeral Director
Shirley is a 1949 graduate of Littlestown High School, studied music at West Chester University and graduated from Gettysburg College in 1954 majoring in Spanish with English and Music minors. She graduated with honors from Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in 1972 earning a LEFD degree and has been with Little’s Funeral Home ever since. She has been married to Dick Little since 1954, has two children, Gregg R. Little, Director of Scientific Affairs for a Pharmaceutical company and registered pharmacist, Lee Ann, the current owner of Little’s Funeral Home and three granddaughters. Her interests include supporting the Y.M.C.A., the American Red Cross Bloodmobile, delivering Meals on Wheels, playing organ at Little’s Funeral Home, playing bridge and enjoying the company of her beloved cat Willy.
Lee Ann (Little) Study – Licensed Funeral Director
Lee Ann is a 1979 graduate of Littlestown High School and an 1983 graduate of Gettysburg College with a B.A. degree in Business Administration. She graduated in 1993 from Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, earning a certificate in Funeral Service. She received her Pennsylvania Funeral Director’s License in 1994 and became the current owner of Little’s Funeral Home in 1998. She is a lifelong member and Consistory Elder at Redeemer’s United Church of Christ in Littlestown and had been the Secretary/Treasurer for the Tri-County Funeral Directors Association for the past 10 years. Married to John Study, she has a daughter Olivia and also shares her home with a dog, cat, and goldfish. Her main interests are keeping up with Olivia’s busy schedule and walking her Bernese Mountain Dog, Lacey.
John Study – Licensed Funeral Director
John is a 1969 graduate of Littlestown High School and a 1975 graduate of Morehead State University in Kentucky with a B.S. degree in Business Administration. He worked for Wickes Lumber Company for over 20 years as the general manager at various locations throughout Pennsylvania and Connecticut. He graduated from Catonsville Community College in 1997 earning a Associates Degree in Mortuary Science and became a Licensed Funeral Director. He is a member of Redeemer's United Church of Christ, Littlestown Rotary Club, PFDA and NFDA and has served on the Littlestown Water Authority and Littlestown Chamber of Commerce Boards. Married to Lee Ann Study, he has a daughter, Olivia, whom he loves watching her play basketball and volleyball. His hobbies include sports, especially watching Littlestown High School football and Penn State football.
Jim Study - Funeral Assistant
Jim is an 1979 graduate of Littlestown High School. He was previously employed with Rental Uniform Service of Frederick, MD as a route salesman for 12 years. Married to Sandy Study, Jim has a son, Brandon, who attends college, a daughter and son-in-law, Kali and Blake, and three grandsons. He and Sandy are active members of Bethel Assembly of God, Littlestown. In the little spare time that he does have, Jim enjoys home renovation and is an avid spectator of multiple sports.