Obituary: William R. Little

Former Aspen resident Bill Little died May 13. He was 81 years old.

Born on May 7, 1922, he was married to Ruth A.J. Little for 53 years, was the father of Clifford W. Little and the grandfather of Clifton A. Little, both of Aspen. He is also survived by brother Frank Little, and sister Henrietta Henke, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Little was born in West Seattle. His twin died at birth. He attended Jefferson Elementary, Madison Jr. High and graduated from West Seattle High School.

His career established him as a longtime and well-respected baker. He began working in bakeries during his high school years and worked at several bakeries in Seattle, including Gai’s Bakery where he worked with Mama and Papa Gai. He also worked for Van de Kamp’s Bakery and Best Pie.

He trained many young people in developing bakery skills and had a positive influence on many high school students in West Seattle, including nieces and nephews. He actively supported community youth programs, sponsored Pee Wee baseball at Hiawatha Field, and provided leadership for Cub Scouts Pack 284. He married Ruth Henke on Aug. 27, 1949.

A World War II Navy veteran, Little served his country for a number of years as a chief baker. His rank was Commissaryman R First Class. He served in Moffett Field, Calif.; Auckland, New Zealand; and Great Lakes, Ill. While serving in Auckland he started The Aeronautical Boys Club. There is a room in the Auckland YMCA named in his honor.

Little and his wife opened Bill’s Cake Box in the Admiral Junction in West Seattle in 1953. In 1962 he and his family moved to Aspen and opened Little Cliff’s Bakery, which became a very popular meeting place.

Little Cliff’s Bakery supplied bakery goods to most of Aspen’s ski hills, restaurants, hotels, resorts and for numerous celebrity functions. He and his family loved Aspen and were active in many community events, the volunteer fire department, fund-raisers and youth activities.

His hard work and outgoing and generous personality enabled him to develop long-lasting friendships in Colorado and everywhere that he traveled. In 1989 the couple sold the bakery and retired to Sunland Community in Sequim, Wash. The last two years of his life were spent in Seattle at Providence Mount Saint Vincent Nursing Home.

Little was an artist at heart. His talent was evident in his beautiful wedding cakes and also in his paintings and ceramic pieces. He was generous in helping family and all those in need.

Memorials may be made to Providence Mount Saint Vincent. A service was held at Hope Lutheran Church in West Seattle on May 19.