A tribute to Everett Littlefield

Fri, 03/25/2022 - 3:00am

Dear Block Island Community,
The Littlefield family would like to send our sincerest thanks to those who weathered the service for Everett Littlefield on Saturday, March 19. For those who were unable to attend, we are truly sorry you missed the funeral of the century. There was wind, rain, lightning, thunder and by some accounts, even some light hail. It was a dramatic send-off, one Everett would certainly be pleased with! The resiliency of this small community
was evident and the overwhelming support is appreciated beyond words. As a family struggling through a difficult time, this made all the difference.
There were many more laughs than tears, seeing people rain-soaked and riveted.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank those who made the entire occasion possible and so meaningful: Kimberly’s Restaurant,
Norman and Kimberly Ward, Terry Smith, Patty Crowley, their staff and helpers; The Spring House Restaurant, Frank DiBiase, Dave Houseman
and their kitchen; The Block Island Grocery, Mary Jane and Don Logan, Mark and Celeste Helterline; the Handrigan family at Ferry Wharf Seafood
and to the many people who baked, those who set up and cleaned, we thank you as well. To Legion Post 36 and Charlie Weber, the military honors will
be forever remembered. Thank you all.

The following excerpt is for those who may have missed André Boudreau’s heartfelt and humorous eulogy due to the deafening torrential rainfall and for those unable to be there in person!

The Littlefields
Old Town Road


If anyone is here to mourn the passing of a great man and hear elaborate, embellished stories of a perfect man’s life well-lived...well you’re in the wrong field. The separateness and uniqueness of each human life is the basis of our grief. Look through the whole world and there is no one like the one we have lost. But he will always live on in our memories. Though no longer a visible part of our lives, he will remain a member of our family
through the influence he has had on us and the special part he played in all of our lives. We know that the value and meaning of life consists in living it and living it well. People who have been a strength and comfort to others and have worked for future generations, deriving fulfillment and satisfaction from so doing, these are the people who bring value and meaning to life and community.
So here we are this afternoon to pay our last respects and bid a sad but fond farewell to Everett Littlefield and to honor and pay tribute to a true island son, a regular guy who touched everyone’s lives with sharp wit, a selfless dedication to family, community and country, a man of hard work, and belly-busting humor.

Born October 23, 1938 on Block Island - a time when there was the west siduhs, over there, the nekkuhs, up there, southwest siduhs over there, and the harbor rats were down here. He was a harbor rat, and damn proud of that. “The folks from each area didn’t mingle much but Saturday we did! And we all became wet harbor rats in very short time” (imagine his joy!).
He attended the Block Island School and once said he loved going because there was nothing to do and that’s where all of the socializing was done. The community he said ... “it all stemmed from that place.” He did fear having to go to the “other side” of the building because at that time grades one to six were on one side and seven to 12 were on the other and on that side students had to take physics everyday, and to a young sixth-grader in that day, “to have or take ‘physics’ meant drinking castor oil for digestive issues.”

He grew up in the same area of the island he eventually settled with his family. Along with his brother, it was iceboating on Fresh Pond, catching snakes, or “sneaks” as they called them, and climbing trees. There was one particularly big one in Jenny Baker’s yard that would enable them to then climb onto the roof of her house, for no other reason but to torment her by jumping on her roof and she would come out and chase them with her broom - Everett would tell you he wasn’t sure if it was to hit them or if she actually rode it.

He loved the holidays, particularly Thanksgiving. Every year his dad would buy their turkey from Elizabeth Dickens but one year he and his brother wanted a goose so they went out and shot a Canada goose and his mom cooked it like a turkey. Everett later recalled “when my dad cut into that thing it rolled off the knife like wood shavings when you are planing a board.”
He loved airplanes and as a child would go to the airport and wait for hours for one to land. One day one did, a biplane I think, and he asked the pilot if he could wash his plane in exchange for a ride in it. The pilot agreed and Everett and his brother washed the plane and he got his ride. This led him into a 20-year career in the Navy, flying and fixing planes.
He was on the maiden voyage of the Manitou in July of 1972. He had to return to the island on account of the death of his mother. It was then that he and Verna decided to return to home and settle with their budding family, the same time the stern-loaders started servicing old harbor. The rest, as they say- in so many ways - is history.
He was a voracious reader. It has been said that “We cannot judge a biography by its length nor by the number of pages in it. We must judge it by the richness of its contents.” Everett’s biography is long, the pages are many and its contents very rich. He lived a good life and I think he knew it.

His dedication to those he loved, and even didn’t love, was remarkable. He cultivated a family in his own image, he passed down the importance
of public service, helping those in need, hard work, dedication to family, and poking fun of the obvious idiots, to all of his children. Verna once said “a house is not a home without a family in it.” I would say a town is not a community without people like Everett in it. Thank you for being by his side
all these years and together raising a family that will ensure his memory will continue for generations to come. As any smart man knows, we are only as good as the strong and wonderful women who put up with us and stand by our sides.
He left us with so much. So much joy to remember, and nothing we would rather forget. A true islander who lived his life on his own terms, who treasured his freedom, and reveled in his independence and sought the same for others. A lifelong patriot, husband, father, and friend to us all.
I think its only appropriate to read the words of the Navy Hymn:
Eternal Father, Strong to Save,

Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,

Who bid’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea.
O Christ, Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea.
Most Holy Spirit, Who didst brood

Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,

And give, for wild confusion, peace;

O hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
O Trinity of love and power,
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

Dear Everett, may your love be reflected in all who knew you, and may you continue to live on through the lives of those you leave behind.
Your legacy is the memory of a great name and a great example.
And so, into the freedom of wind and sunshine
We let you go
Into the dance of the moon and planets
We let you go
Into the wind’s breath and the hands of the universe
We let you go
And into the sadness and smiles of our memories
We let you go
Go safely, go with all of our love in your heart, and may you forever be at peace.
See you later, dear friend.

To hear more of Everett’s stories visit the Block Island Historical Society’s oral history page at: https://www.blockislandhistorical.org/oralhistory/everett-littlefield-verna-littlefield/