December 13, 2019

Sheldon Little - Daily Leader Extra : Obituaries

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Sheldon Little

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Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 5:02 pm

D. Sheldon Little, 98, of Watertown, SD passed away under the compassionate care of Prairie Lakes Hospice on November 16, 2019 at his son's home where he lived for the past five years.

Funeral services will be Thursday, November 21, 10:00 am at Cornerstone Church in Watertown with Pastor Steve Anderson officiating. Visitation will be at Wight & Comes Funeral Chapel, Wednesday, November 20, from 5 to 7 pm with a time of sharing starting at 6:30.

Pallbearers will be grandsons, Kevin Logan, Michael and Ian Patterson, David, Dylan, Jordan, and Gri Little, and Lake VandeZande. Honorary Pallbearers will be granddaughters and spouses: Cari Logan, Emily (Brandon) Trupe, Maria (Caleb) Vukovich, Jessica (David) Little, Nastia Little, Kylie (Lake) VandeZande, Leslie (Michael) Patterson, Anna (Kevin) Logan, Abby (Anthony) Brown, and Helen and Anna Little.

David Sheldon Little, known as "Sheldon," the son of David Martin Little and Mabel Rose (Stone) Little, was born March 21, 1921 in Watertown, SD, the third of seven children. He attended Garfield School in Watertown, a rural school in Rauville Township, and graduated from Waverly High School in 1939. He and his parents' family moved from farm to farm as dictated by landlord insurance companies until they purchased land south of Watertown.

Sheldon attended South Dakota State University, then in 1941 he worked in a munitions factory in Los Angeles. After that, he drove truck in Alaska for the building of the Kodiak Air Force Base, sending money home to help purchase land. Sheldon moved back to Waverly, farmed for a year with his brother, Don, then enlisted in the US Navy where he served aboard the Destroyer 686 Halsey Powell in the Pacific. His ship was one of the thirteen ships to escort the Battleship Missouri into Tokyo Harbor to accept Japan's surrender ending WWII. After the war, Sheldon purchased the farm south of Watertown known as the Cuzack Homestead in Sheridan Township which is still in the family and where all five of his children grew up.

He married Stella Arlois Pankey on November 6, 1949 at the First Baptist Church in Stella's home town, Craig, Colorado. He was well respected, loved to farm, and he worked very hard. Sheldon was an optimist after the manner of Norman Vincent Peale. "There is no such thing as `can't'!" Sheldon taught his children by example to work hard and efficiently. The backbone of the farm was a Holstein dairy operation, though raising beef, small grains and row crops was also a big part. The couple farmed until Sheldon's retirement at age 66; but he continued to help his sons with harvest for many years.

Sheldon and his family were long time members of the First United Methodist Church. In the 70s the family attended the Christian Missionary Alliance Church in Watertown where he taught Bible study classes and served as the CMA treasurer and elder for many years. He was re-baptized in 1991. After the CMA Church was dissolved Sheldon and Stella attended Cornerstone Church.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Stella; his sister, Musette and her husband, Conrad Huse; and his brothers, Stanley, Frank (Charlotte), Phillip and his wife, Phyllis, Don (Mary Lou), and Norman (Audrey) Little.

He is survived by his brother, Larry (Janet) of Watertown; three sons: Gordon (Kathy VandeZande) Little of Watertown, Richard (Tonya Haigh) Little of Lincoln, NE, and Terry (Carina) Little of Watertown; two daughters: Karen (Terry) Logan of Madison, SD and Leora (Larry) Schwitters of Issaquah, WA; three sisters-in-law: Mary Lou Little (Castlewood, SD), Audrey Little (Springfield, MN), and Charlotte Little (La Crescenta, CA); 15 grandchildren; 9 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

In honor of Sheldon, the family requests memorial gifts to be given to Prairie Lakes Hospice, 401 9th Ave. NW, Watertown, SD 57201.

Wight & Comes Funeral Chapel serving the family,