Albert R. Litle passed away Feb. 15, 2021, in Billings at the age of 102. Born Nov. 8, 1918, in Clyde Park, MT, in the midst of the flu pandemic, he was the older son of Orville and Grace Litle. He and his younger brother, Joseph B. Litle, grew up in East Helena and later Bozeman. He received his elementary education in Helena and Bozeman schools, and graduated from Gallatin County High School in Bozeman in 1937. He went on to graduate from Kinman Business University, Spokane, WA, with a degree in Business and Salesmanship.
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After college Al purchased a grocery store on the corner of Main Street and Willson in Bozeman. He met his wife, Nellie A. Dykstra, a registered nurse, while attending the Bozeman Methodist Church, and they were married Jun. 1, 1941.
Al served in the U.S. Army during WWII as a radio operator in an open tank in the European theater in Gen. George Patton's 10th Armored Division, arriving just in time for the Battle of the Bulge. Following VE Day the rest of his unit went home, but due to a shortage of clerks he was placed in the 1st Infantry Division as a company clerk and remained in Europe almost six more months before his discharge as a Tech Sergeant on Apr. 17, 1946.
He returned to the retail grocery business, where he owned and operated the Litle's Modern Grocery with his father. His brother, Joe, bought into the business following his discharge from the U. S. Merchant Marines. In 1955 he and his brother formed a wholesale grocery corporation, Litle's Inc. For many years Litle's Inc. was a major supplier of groceries throughout the State. They sold this business in 1985, and both brothers retired.
Al was a member of the Methodist Church in Bozeman for 90 years, including 13 years as Treasurer. He sang in the choir for 53 years. He was a member of the Bozeman Chamber of Commerce, a Past Master of Gallatin Lodge #6, and a member of the Algeria Shrine Temple of Helena, singing with their Chanter group. He also assisted with fund raising events for the Big Sky Honor Flight which enabled WWII Veterans to travel to Washington, DC, to see their Memorial. He was able to participate in two of those flights, in June of 2012, and May of 2014.
After retirement the couple spent their winters in Mesa, AZ, for more than 20 years. In August of 2003 they left Bozeman, moving to Westpark Village Senior Living in Billings, where they made countless good friends over the years. Nellie passed away in 2015 at the age of 99 years. Al was also preceded in death by his brother Joe, sisters-in-law Carla Ann Litle, Edna Kamps, Dorothea Kimm, and Edna Dykstra; and brothers-in-law Gordon Dykstra, Sidney Dykstra, Harold Kimm, and Henry Kamps.
He is survived by one sister-in-law, Ethel Dykstra; four children, Diana Batch of Billings, James (Mary Ellen) Litle of Belgrade, Robert (Karen) Litle of Green Valley, AZ, and Ed (Betty Lynn) Litle of Bozeman and Missoula; and ten grandchildren, Lianne (Bob) Queen, Robyn (George) Ebert, Darren (Holly) Litle, Amber (Marcus) McCollum, Scott (Heather) Litle, Jill Litle (Chris Cloutier), Katie (Jamey) DuBosque, Kylee (Brett) Archer, Connie (Paul) Chausse', and Bonnie (Steve) Jones. He is also survived by 24 great-grandchildren and 6 great-great grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Due to COVID limitations, services will be held in Bozeman later this summer.