Obituary of Robert Little
Robert (Bob) Brownlee Little’s life came full circle in his own home on November 27th, 2023.
Bob was born on Main Street Markham, October 13th, 1945 to Archibald and Helen (Freeman) Little. He was predeceased by his brother David, who died in his first year, and was baby brother to Carolyn and Barry who remained close with him throughout his life. He was predeceased by his loving wife, Carol (nee Hoover) in 2017 and missed her every day until his passing. He is survived by: his siblings, Carolyn (Hoshel) and Barry (Cathie Davies); his sons: Todd and Darren (Natalie); and his grandsons: Chase, Wyatt, Archer and Daniel; along with many nieces and nephews.
From birth, weighing close to 12 pounds, it was clear that Bob was destined to leave his mark on the world and on everyone who met him. He grew up on Meadowlawn Farm where he spent his entire life. Bob attended public school in the one room schoolhouse in Boxgrove. He spoke fondly about his childhood days spent on the farm riding his ponies, swimming in the Rouge River, skating on the rink in Cedar Arena, and playing shinny with his friends at the old Markham rink. He went on to attend high school at what was then the “new” Markham District High School where he participated in their football and wrestling programs.
After Markham High, Bob began working at the Massey Ferguson testing and remained there until 1976. His work took him all over the United States seeing most of the mid-Western and Southern states.
During his time at Massey, he met the love of his life, Carol Hoover. They were married in 1971 in Markham and built their family home on the farm where they would raise their two sons, Todd and Darren. Todd and Darren’s antics were the catalyst for Bob’s career change when Carol encouraged him to apply for a position with the Region of York Water Department where he remained as manager for the next 30 years until his retirement in 2006. Bob and Carol loved spending time with their family at their cottage on Twelve Mile Lake in Minden and traveling to Florida once a year after Bob’s retirement. Bob and his sons built and ran a successful driving range, Meadowlawn Fairways Driving Range, on Ninth Line for 12 years.
During his retirement Bob found time for his many passions: golfing, playing cards at the Legion, bowling (every Thursday night for 50 years), and driving his pontoon boat at the cottage. He rarely missed one of his grandsons’ hockey, lacrosse, or baseball games. Bob always offered words of encouragement, hugs, and gratitude to his boys and his grandsons. Love was something he shared willingly with all who knew him.
Bob was a loving and involved father coaching his boys in their sports and cheering them on in the stands during their football careers. Bob was an avid sports fan and his voice could always be heard on the field or on the ice by everyone in attendance. Less than a week before his passing he insisted on driving to Chase’s Junior hockey game in Little Britain, refusing to let Todd drive. He was a dedicated Toronto sports fan but also their biggest critic. He was known for watching the Leafs and Jays play with the volume turned off so he could offer his own commentary.
Bob never met a pie or pastry he didn’t like. In his words, “There is no bad pie, there are just some that are better than others.” His drives to the cottage included multiple stops at local farmer’s markets and bakeries. His contribution to potlucks and family dinners was always dessert.
One of Bob’s greatest prides was his lifetime involvement with the Markham Fair. He was an exhibitor before he was a volunteer showing Jersey calves in 4H, and later went on to found the Grounds Committee and was a volunteer on the Concessions Committee. He took on the roles and responsibilities of Fair President in 1992, and to this day, he holds the record for the most attended Fair in its history. In his senior years he enjoyed chatting with Fair visitors driving them around the grounds and to their cars in the Courtesy Cart. Bob was guaranteed to be there doing anything to help around the Fair. He was of the belief that many hands make light work.
Being a man of significant stature, Bob was not a person easily forgotten. Despite his size, he was a gentle, generous man who treated everyone with kindness and respect. He never failed to say thank you and ended every conversation with his sons with, “Thank you for calling, I love you.” As a frequent visitor to Markham Stouffville Hospital, the ER nurses knew Bob by name, and he always returned the favor showing gratitude to those who cared for him when he needed it most. He was always thinking of others, never wanting to be a burden.
His voice, his presence, and his kindness will be remembered with a smile, a good joke, and a giant hug.
For those who knew and loved him: visitations will be Thursday, November 30th from 6 to 9 and Friday from 1 to 4 at Dixon Garland in Markham.
We will say goodbye and celebrate his full and wonderful life on Saturday, December 2nd at 2pm at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on Main Street Markham.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in his memory to the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation, and the Cardiology Department.
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The livestream is set to start at 1:45 p.m., remarks will begin at 2:00 p.m.