Former Cornelius mayor, community advocate dies
by Staff Writer
CORNELIUS – Former Cornelius Mayor Harold Little, 85, who inspired the town to build a veterans monument, died Wednesday, June 29.
Although the cause of his death is unclear, those close to him said he had recently suffered several medical ailments, including pneumonia. He was moved to a hospice facility earlier this week.
He is survived by his wife, Anne Ruth Little; four children; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Little served in World War II aboard the destroyer U.S.S. John Rodgers in the Pacific Theater and remained active in American Legion Post 86. He served as Cornelius mayor from 1985 to 1993 and on numerous boards and committees in the town.
“You aren’t going to find many people who cared for their community as much as Harold did,” Town Manager Anthony Roberts said. “Just an all-around great guy who was someone people looked up to because of his honesty and integrity.”
Little brought the idea to the town board for the veteran’s monument and was the driving force in getting it completed, a number of people said.
The town broke ground on the monument on Memorial Day, and construction is proceeding behind Town Hall.
“He wanted so bad to live to see it finished,” Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte said. “He’ll just get to see if from a different vantage point now ... What a good, good guy.”
Little had become somewhat of a sage for many of Cornelius’ mayors. Every mayor elected after him had sought Little’s advice before running.
Many who didn’t know Little as a political figure would likely recognize him as the “sweet, waving man with gray hair” at the front window of Archer’s Towing in Davidson, where he helped out during the week, owner Frankie Archer said.
“He was a very close family friend and an amazing man,” Archer said. “… He always had his phone in his pocket, and when he’d leave, he’d always pat his pocket and say ‘If anything gets rough.’ … I’m going to miss him a lot.”
Funeral arrangements had not been finalized by the Herald Weekly’s press deadline. Sam James, Funeral Service Licensee, is assisting the family. See www.samuelsjamesfsl.com for details as they become available.