On Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, John Goodwin Little, Jr., loving husband, father, Pawpaw and friend to many, passed away peacefully at age 96.
A Celebration of Life service, with full military honors, was held on Sunday, Feb. 28, at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Dothan with Rev. Bob Gross officiating and Chaplain Paul Murphey assisting.
Visitation began prior to the service at 1 p.m. in the sanctuary. Interment will be at Magnolia Cemetery in Greenville, Ala., at a later date. Flowers will be received at First Baptist Church of Dothan and donations may be made in John’s name to: The 95th Infantry Division, P.O. Box 1113, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73101.
John was born on June 10, 1924, in Greenville to John Goodwin, Sr. and Carrie Louise Hobbs Little. He was raised in Greenville with three younger sisters during the Great Depression. He became an Eagle Scout (where he learned to play the bugle and would later play the bugle in the army), joined the ROTC and graduated from Greenville High School in 1942.
While attending the University of Alabama in 1943, he was drafted to serve in the US Army where he made many lifelong friends. He served in World War II with the 95th Infantry Division (‘Iron Men of Metz’) – nicknamed the ‘Victory Division’ – aiding in the liberation of Metz, France on Nov. 22, 1944 while under the command of General George S. Patton.
He was awarded three bronze stars, the American Theater Medal and the WWII Victory Medal. After World War II, he earned his degree at the University of Alabama and served in the National Guard and Army Reserves, from 1950 – 1984, rising to the rank of Major.
Following college, he served as Postmaster for his hometown of Greenville and married his hometown sweetheart, Tera Faye Cook. In March of 2019, he received the prestigious French Legion of Honor Award and was given the rank of Knight.
John dearly loved and served God and his family and will be missed by many. He was an active, lifelong member of First Baptist Church of Greenville and in his later years, First Baptist Church of Dothan. He enjoyed the many senior activities and travels of FBC, Dothan.
He was an avid reader, enjoyed researching family genealogy and believed in giving back to his community by serving for many years in several civic and military organizations: the Kiwanis Club, The Civitan Club, The American Legion, Military Officers Club and The Elk’s Club among others.
He loved being with friends at The Dorothy Quick Senior Center and The Terrace at Grove Park in Dothan. John also attended many annual 95th Infantry Division Reunions all over the country to reunite with his fellow patriots and made several reunion trips overseas to France.
Surviving relatives include his loving children and grandchildren: John G. Little III (Nancy) of Mableton, Ga.; Phyllis Little Creel (Ronnie) Dothan, and their children Justin Creel (Jessica) Cantonment, Fla., Melissa Creel Kirkland (Josh) Auburn, and Matthew Creel, Orlando, Fla.
He leaves five great-grands: Henry and Caleb Kirkland and Aiden, Evelyn, and Elise Creel; sisters Barbara L. Priester of Auburn and Iris L. Norman of Greenville; and many loved nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, his sister and her husband, Nina and C.H. MacGuire; his brother-in-laws, Jimmy Priester and Bunk Norman; and his great-granddaughter Mckenzie Anne Kirkland.
The family would like to thank his wonderful caregivers: Taungia Jones, Denise Shiver, Kay Watkins, and the late Jo Bundy as well as EnCompass Health for their compassionate care.