Ashley J. Little – Captain, United States Navy

From a contemporary press report

Ashley J. Little, founding President of Aiken Technical College and a retired Naval Officer, died of a stroke May 14th in Ponte Vedra, Florida. He was 82.

Captain Little was born in 1919 in Griffin, Georgia to Colonel James M. Little and Mabel  Little. An Eagle scout, he attended Georgia Tech at age 15 and later received an  appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy where he graduated in 1940. In 1944, he met Gertrude (Kit) McCoy of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, while he was stationed in Washington, D.C. and she was working at the Naval Research Laboratory. After a brief courtship, they were married in Annapolis, Maryland, and this April they celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary.

During his 27 year naval career, Captain Little served aboard the battleship Iowa during World War II, was commanding officer of the U.S.S. Gurkee and U.S.S. Yellowstone, earned the rank of captain, obtained an M.B.A. degree from Ohio State University and attended the National War College.

Captain Little has been a resident of Aiken since 1967 when he joined Pyle National Company upon his retirement from the Navy. In 1969, he began his second career with the South Carolina Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education. In 1972, he was selected to be the first president of Aiken Technical College. During his tenure, the 88-acre campus was built, the initial enrollment of 177 students grew to more than 1,700 and Aiken Tech received two-year college accreditation. In November 2000, the college named the Ashley J. Little Administration Building in his honor.

Captain Little was instrumental in establishing the Adult Development Center to serve disabled adults throughout Aiken County. He was also an active member and leader in the Aiken Rotary Club, Aiken Chamber of Commerce, the United Way and the First Baptist Church. In 1984, Mr. Little received the Order of the Palmetto from the State of South Carolina and was recently honored as past president of Friends of Hopelands. Ash Little will be remembered for his deep commitment to his community and his enduring influence on higher education and economic development in Aiken and the Savannah River area. While Ashley Little’s professional accomplishments were significant, his greatest legacy is his living example of the values he taught his children: integrity, humility, generosity and love.

Captain Little is survived by his beloved wife, Kit, and his children, Mary Cooper of Princeton, N.J., Robert Little of Phoenix, Ariz., Ann Majestic of Durham, N.C., Jane Little of Aiken, S.C., Barbara Clare Little of Los Angeles, Calif., and Mig Little Hayes of Durham, N.C.; and ten grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at the First Baptist Church of Aiken at 2:00 p.m. Friday, May18, 2001, with the Reverend Dr. Fred Andrea officiating. Mr. Little will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

In lieu of flowers, gifts in memory of Mr. Little may be made to the First Baptist Church of Aiken, 120 Chesterfield Street, Aiken, SC 29801, or to the Aiken Technical Foundation, P.O. Drawer 696, Aiken, SC 29802.

Read our general and most popular articles

Leave a Comment