Ruth Henke Little: 1922-2014
Ruth Henke Little, age 91, passed away on Feb. 24, 2014 at Heritage Park Care Center in Carbondale, Colorado. Ruth and her husband, Bill Little, owned and operated Little Cliff’s Bakery from 1960 to 1992 in downtown Aspen. It was located on Main Street across from City Hall. The bakery was a favorite to all who frequented it and it was one of those family run businesses that left an indelible mark in Aspen’s history.
Ruth was born in Gary, Indiana, on March 28, 1922 to Martha and Charles Henke, she spent her childhood in Gary and after graduating from high school she attended business college. She met her husband, William “Bill” R. Little while visiting her brother, Charles, in Palo Alto, California. Both men were on layover there while serving in the U. S. Navy during WWII. After marrying, Ruth and Bill moved to Seattle, Washington where they opened Bill’s Cakebox Bakery. In 1960 they moved to Aspen, Colorado, to begin their 32 years at the helm of their family’s bakery.
Little Cliff’s Bakery was known for its wonderful glazed donuts, apple fritters, trolley car cakes and chocolate chip cookies. Ruth ran the storefront while Bill baked in the back. The bakery was the namesake for their son, Cliff, who was their pride and joy. Every morning Ruth would box up freshly baked goods to deliver to all the lodges around Aspen. She also started the “donut tree” in front of the bakery. The tree’s branches were decorated with any leftover donuts to feed the birds, although stories abound that late night revelers also helped themselves to the donuts on their way home.
Ruth was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother known for her warm smile and quiet demeanor. She worked diligently along side her husband and kept baker’s hours for many years. She played the organ for her Lutheran church, worked for the Aspen Fire District and was an avid bowler. Ruth’s husband, Bill Little, preceded her in death. She is survived by her brother, Charles Henke, of Seattle, Washington, her son Clifford “Cliff” William Little, of Woody Creek, Colorado, and her grandson, Clifton Arthur Little, of Durango, Colorado. Gifts in Ruth’s memory can be made to Whitcomb Terrace, 275 Castle Creek Rd., Aspen, CO 81611, where she received such dedicated care.
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