John M. Littlewood

URBANA – John Miles Littlewood, 91, of Urbana, passed away July 19, 2023, at his home in Amber Glen Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Urbana.

John gifted his body to medical science, and will be buried at a later date in Greenfield Cemetery in La Moille.

John was born to Harold R. and Rena M. Littlewood on Sept. 8, 1931, in their farm home near La Moille.

John is survived by his brother Roland (wife Barbara), of Madison, Wis.; five nephews; and very dear friends Bob and Elaine Goss.

He was preceded in death by a brother Lyle.

John attended Basswood Corner School, one of the last one-room schools in Bureau County. He then attended La Moille Community High School, where he was the valedictorian of the class of 1949.

He next attended North Central College in Naperville. There, he participated in numerous student activities, notably those concerned with foreign relations. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1953, majoring in Political Science and English.

Shortly after college graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. His major deployment was with the finance corps in Italy. He next spent a few years working the retail jewelry business in Dallas, Texas. He then enrolled in the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he received a Master of Science in Library Science in 1961.

He spent the next 40 years with the University of Illinois library. His primary position was Documents Librarian and Associate Professor of Library Administration. John was given the ISchool (School of Information Sciences) Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award in 1998.

John spent a good portion of his adult life with Donald T. Laube., who died on Feb. 12, 1994.

John lived in Champaign from 1960 until about 10 years ago, when he moved to an assisted living facility in nearby Urbana.

His very dear friends in Urbana, the Gosses, wrote the following tribute to John:

In 1997/1998 John met Bob & Elaine Goss and it wasn’t long before a long and lasting friendship was formed.  John loved to visit our home, have dinner and fellowshipped with us three nights a week and Saturdays was always dinner out and show. Sometimes it might be a movie, but other times a trip to the Krannert Center, which he loved. One of our favorite things to do was order dessert ahead of the show and then during half time go to the Inter Mezzo where the dessert was set out for us, ready to eat.  John usually chose his favorite, carrot cake. John was our favorite corn shucker, he could shuck the corn in no time, ready to go on the stove or grill. He was an animal lover in that he loved to walk our old dog Gypsy every afternoon whilst we were at work. Lacey, our Yorkshire Terrier fell in love with him too, and would always shower him with kisses when he arrived at the house or was getting ready to go home. Our whole family embraced John into our family and he got to know and love our children. He even got to meet our grandchildren. Never a Christmas went by when John didn’t join in playing cards, board games and I fondly remember him embracing our Christmas traditions by joining us in wearing our silly paper hats during our Christmas dinner. It was a very English tradition. You always wanted John on your team when it came to Trivial Pursuit because he had so much knowledge, he put us all to shame. Another of John’s loves was our garden, he loved flowers and took pride every night he was over to do the ‘Generals Tour’ as we called it. I would show him around the garden, point out something new or different. He was always so patient, asking questions, and if I had a gardening question that he couldn’t answer he would research it for me and come the next night with a printout with all the information.  John will always be in our hearts, we loved him dearly, he was a part of our family, and there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t think of him and wish he was still with us. Our friendship lasted over 26 years, and he is sorely missed.

Memorial gifts may be directed to the La Moille-Clarion Library, PO Box 260, La Moille IL 61330, or The Daily Bread Soup Kitchen,116 N. First St., Champaign,  IL 61824.