Walter C. Littlefield, 83

Fri, 09/06/2013 - 3:00pm

Walter Clifford Littlefield, 83, a past resident of Block Island, Rhode Island and Seekonk, Massachusetts, died Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 at Elmhurst Extended Care in Providence, after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

He was the cherished husband of the late Priscilla J. (Macomber) Littlefield, father of Christina D. Littlefield, brother of the late Marilyn Littlefield Rose, uncle to Bernice Rose Dangelas and the late Clifford M. Rose.

Walter was born on Block Island, the son of the late Arlo C. Littlefield and Marion M. (Mott) Littlefield. He graduated from the Block Island School and earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in education from Rhode Island College.

Walter was an elementary school teacher at Nathanael Greene in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, a past volunteer fireman in Seekonk, Massachusetts and a founding member of the Block Island Rescue Squad.

Prior to being robbed of many abilities by Parkinson’s Disease, Walter was an avid reader of books and newspapers, a loyal Red Sox fan and puzzle enthusiast with his late wife, Priscilla. A calm multi-tasker, Walter could be found on a Sunday simultaneously reading the paper, listening to the Red Sox on the radio and watching the Patriots game with the sound muted. Walter loved having cookouts, going out for a seafood dinner and, as a long-suffering family man, endured taking the family for a ride to the beach even if it was his only day off, even if it was February. Walter’s capacity for endurance was an inspirational lesson to persevere life’s challenges. His maxim was, “Don’t worry; everything will turn out all right.”

Parkinson’s was not the first health challenge Walter had to meet with courage. In 1949, he was one of three Block Islanders to contract polio. The exercises to regain his strength and ability to walk were very painful. Walter didn’t stop there. His fellow baseball team members picked him up, carried him to a car and drove him to the beach. While they practiced, he crawled up and down the sand dunes to further strengthen his atrophied limbs. One of those team members, the late Dick Kiley, related this story as an inspiring example of personal courage, determination and character that he felt was outstanding for a 19-year old facing uncertain odds that he would walk again.

Visitation will be held Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013 from 11 a.m. to noon with a service starting at noon at LaChapelle Funeral Home, 643 Main Street, Pawtucket, R.I. Burial will immediately follow at Hillside Cemetery in Attleboro, Mass.

In lieu of flowers, it would be greatly appreciated if donations were made in Walter’s memory to Elmhurst Extended Care Activities Fund, 50 Maude Street, Providence, R.I. 02908 in recognition for the hard work and thoughtful, dedicated, loving care that Walter received from the Elmhurst staff the past four years.

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