Robert Little

Obituary of Robert Palmer Little

Please share a memory of Robert to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.

Robert Palmer Little, age 86, of Chapel Hill, NC passed away on March 23.  He was born on February 22, 1937 in Indianapolis and was the son of Palmer (Pat) Little and Orleva Rice Little. He is remembered as a loving husband to his wife, Susan, a revered father to his adult children Steven (Lora), Christopher (Marisa) and Jennifer (Fred), and a kind grandfather to Tyler, Alexandra, Alaina and Fletcher. 

Bob spent his youth in Indianapolis where he attended T.C. Howe High School and was a graduate of DePauw University. He was a member of Beta Theta Pi social fraternity. Meeting his future wife, Susan Stirling Little, in the fifth grade at P.S. 57, they became lifelong companions and sweethearts. They were married for 64 years.  

Upon graduation from college, Bob entered the U. S. Air Force with a five-year commitment.  He rose in rank from Second Lieutenant to Captain. He served as the Navigator aboard a B-52 with a Strategic Air Command crew and participated in 24-hour alert “chrome dome” missions during the Cold War, including the tense days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Upon leaving military life, the Littles returned to Indianapolis and Bob was soon employed by IBM. His career included assignments in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Georgia in sales and management. Twice he was recognized nationally for his sales prowess.

After retirement at age 56, Bob found great pleasure in becoming “Bob the Navigator,” planning over 200 self-guided tours of Europe for independent travelers, most especially in Italy and Spain. He was active on travel websites and was voted the Top Fodorite on Fodor’s Travel Talk Forums in recognition of his knowledgeable advice for fellow travelers and was feted by Fodors at an event in New York City. Having traveled to Europe 27 times and studying various itineraries, he had a wealth of knowledge to share and was always generous with his time and attention.

In retirement, the Littles moved to Amelia Island, FL and then to Chapel Hill, NC. They lived in a total of in nine states throughout their married life, as prompted by the Air Force, IBM, and retirement. In each location, Bob was active in his community through sports (a skilled tennis player), duplicate bridge and family activities. Sports was a constant in his life, whether through participation or observation. His honesty and work ethic were respected throughout his life by those who knew him best. 

He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, and his sisters Barbara Stephens and Mary Kay Raczynski.     

Walker’s Funeral Home in Chapel Hill is assisting the family.

Share Your Memory of