Jack Vernon Little, age 86 of West Jefferson, passed away on Friday, May 15, 2020 at Margate Health and Rehab. Mr. Little was born on May 4, 1934 in Tazewell County, Virginia to Lacy and Edna Sullivan Little. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife of 48 years, Constance Joan Dixon Little; a sister, Virginia Granger; one brother, Edward Little and one grandchild, Erin Little.
Jack graduated in 1952 from Lansing High School. He received a scholarship to Lees-McRae College in Track & Field; however he decided to move to MD and PA to paint houses. In 1954, he decided to join the USAF. While in the Air Force, Jack was stationed in Republic of Korea, Itazuke Air Base on the Japanese Island of Kyushu, and moved back to the USA, with an assignment to George AFB in Victorville, CA, where he was maintenance crew chief for Chuck Yeager. Their paths crossed again at Edwards AFB in Lancaster, Claifornia, where Jack worked with Test Pilot Chuck Yeager on the F-104 Starfighter. Jack also went to Germany to assist with other national defense measures.
The military life is anything but stable. Jack loved that part of it. Next, he was assigned to Amarillo AFB, in Amarillo, Texas as a Field Detachment Jet Mechanic Instructor (one of his most favorite jobs). After six years in Texas, he was assigned to Clark Air Base on the Philippine Island of Luzon, again to cross paths with Colonel Yeager. Jack worked at Headquarters 13th Air Force as a Maintenance Stan-Eval Briefer to highest ranks. After two years there, it was his turn to go to Vietnam in 1970. Initially, his military orders were to Ben Wah; but, orders were quickly changed to Tan Sun Nhut Air Base, by none other than Colonel Yeager. You see, Chuck Yeager and Jack grew up in West Virginia and he kept an eye out for Jack.
Finally, Jack returned to his last active duty assignment, Seymour Johnson AFB in Goldsboro, NC. He retired in 1974. During his 20 years and 6 months in the USAF, he received the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
After his military retirement, he farmed in tobacco, earthworms, and Christmas trees. Jack worked for the West Jefferson Police Department, was Quality Assurance Engineer for Gates Rubber Company, taught Agriculture at Wilkes Community College, and was a local business owner.
Mr. Little is survived by: his present wife, Frances Sexton McCready Little; daughter, Janet O’Brien and husband Bobby of Haughton, Louisiana; sons, David Furr and wife Pam of Charlotte, Michael Little and significant other Sandra Wyatt Johnson of West Jefferson, and Tim Little and wife Deb Pyrek of Kailua, Hawaii; sisters, Dot Francis of Lansing and Janet Ashley of Jefferson; grandsons, Mark Little and wife Aimee of Battle Ground, Washington, Zachary Little and Evan Little, both of Hawaii; granddaughters, Allison Little of West Jefferson, Lacy Ardoin and husband Chris of Shreveport, Louisiana, and Ann Furr of Madagascar; great-grandchildren, Khloe Staley, Katie Little, Makana Ardoin, Maddox Ardoin, and Milo Ardoin; stepdaughters, Cathy Adams and husband Dale of Lansing and Norma Owens of Seale, Alabama; step-grandchildren, T.J. Murphy and wife Amber, Cindy Wood and husband Nate, Jessica Lawrence and husband Justin, and Rebecca Owens; also surviving are ten step-great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be private. Burial will be in Ashelawn Memorial Gardens with military rites.
The family will receive friends in a drive-thru format at Ashelawn Memorial Chapel. Visitors will be directed to drive around the funeral home from 1:00 pm to 1:30 pm on Saturday, May 23, 2020. The family will be located at the rear of the chapel under the covered drive. Under the current Covid-19 restrictions this will be the only time the family will be available to greet friends.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. The Facebook fundraiser address for St. Judes Hospital donations is https://www.facebook.com/donate/652246912296536/2632881130293875/.
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