Barbara Littlewood

Barbara Littlewood

URBANA – Barbara Badger Littlewood, 83, of Urbana died at 11:34 a.m. Monday (Nov. 12, 2012) at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana.

Barbara was born Feb. 25, 1929, in LaPorte, Ind., to Henry Stewart Badger and Alice Shultz Badger.

She graduated from Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School, Chicago, in 1949 and worked as a legal secretary, McBride and Baker law firm, in Chicago, 1949-1953.

She married Thomas B. Littlewood in Oak Park on June 6, 1951. They were classmates in LaPorte and both writers for the local newspaper, Herald-Argus, she contributing the high school news column and he as a part-time sports editor.

They followed his career around the country, living in Chicago, Evanston, Skokie, Springfield, Ill., Falls Church, Va., and Urbana, Ill. In retirement, she and family summered in Empire, Mich.

Each location was an opportunity for exploration, adventure and education. She and her family filled summer days visiting the museums, historic landmarks and Civil War battlefields of Washington, D.C., and Virginia. In trips through the South, plantations, gardens and beaches were explored. In Michigan, it was picnics at the beach and trips to the Soo Locks of Sault Ste. Marie.

To her husband she was a lifelong love, devoted partner and supporter of his career, first as a journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times and then as an author and professor at University of Illinois; to her children she was different things at different times, but always steady and reliable, fostering traditional values of hard work, self-discipline and education; and to her grandchildren she was everything a grandmother should be: loving, quick to laughter, and eager to counsel and instruct.

She loved jazz, classical music and history, read voraciously, and was a longtime supporter of public broadcasting.

She was also a passionate gardener and naturalist, and woke every day to monitor the wildlife in her sphere. All wildlife was her friend. If one animal harmed another, she would call the first "a stinker," knowing full well it was natural and to be expected.

She was a very wise woman and will be greatly missed by all she touched.

In her spare time she volunteered for the Falls Church Girl Scouts, at the Falls Church High School Library and Graham Road Elementary School, and for the Glen Lake Women's Club.

Barbara is survived by her husband, Thomas B. Littlewood; her four children, Linda Johnson of Chatham, Lisa Ratchford of Naperville, Thomas Littlewood of Mystic, Conn., and Leah Hamrick of Avon, Ind.; and 11 grandchildren.

She is also survived by her brother, James S. Badger of Rochester, N.Y.

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, at Renner-Wikoff Chapel, 1900 Philo Road, Urbana. A burial service for family is planned for Friday, Nov. 23, at Essling Funeral Home in LaPorte, Ind.

Memorials may be directed to University of Illinois Library and UIUC.