William “Bill” Littlejohn

Friday, September 30, 2016 7:30 am

William “Bill” Littlejohn, 100, of rural Decorah died Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, at Green Lea Senior Living in Mabel, Minn. A memorial service is at 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, at the Hesper Lutheran Church in Hesper, with the Reverend Matt Larson officiating. Burial is in the Hesper Public Cemetery with military honors from the American Legion. Arrangements are entrusted to the Mengis Funeral Home in Mabel.

Bill was born April 17, 1916, in Oskaloosa, to Melvil and Iona (Garrett) Littlejohn. He graduated from the Ottumwa High School in 1933. While in high school he worked in a restaurant and a music store. It was at the music store where his interest in music began. He played the baritone in high school, and when the United States entered World War II, Bill enlisted in the United States Army and tried out for the band. He traveled all over the world playing for the troops including those preparing for the D-Day invasion, and was the first American musicians to perform for the French Foreign Legion. After returning from the Army he attended the University of Iowa, majoring in business education. It was there he met his future wife, Martha Long, who also had an interest in music. They were married Sept. 8, 1946. They taught in Handsworth, and several small communities in southern Minnesota before coming to the North Winneshiek Community School, which was just opening in rural Decorah. Farming was a real passion in Bill’s life. They raised cattle, sheep, chickens and geese, and he and Martha had a special affection for their cats. After Bill and Martha retired from teaching, they remained on their farm near the school until late 2015, when they became residents at Green Lea Senior Living in Mabel. Martha passed away Feb. 13, 2016. Bill was a member of the former Hesper Friends Church and the American Legion, and enjoyed playing with Martha in the Chatfield Brass Band, Canton Day Off Band and Fort Atkinson Community Band. On Bill’s 100th birthday, he joined some of his Ft. Atkinson friends by playing his baritone with the band. He had an interest in politics and for many years served as an election official in Hesper and Burr Oak. Bill and Martha were also strong supporters of the Quakerdale School.

Bill is survived by nieces and nephews.

Submit A Comment

Fill out the form to submit a comment. All comments require approval by our staff before it is displayed on the website.

Notify of
0 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments