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Obituary for Neil Littlefield

Neil Oakman Littlefield, age 81, passed away surrounded by his family on Saturday, November 3, 2012, at Swedish Hospital in Denver, Colorado. He was born in 1931, in North Conway, New Hampshire to Eldred M. and Mary Louise (Oakman) Littlefield.

Neil graduated from Calais High School in Maine in 1949, then went on to earn a B.S. degree in English and Physics from the University of Maine, graduating with highest distinction in 1953. He continued his education at Boston University Law School, where he was Senior Editor for the Law Review. During his studies he traveled to the University of Melbourne, Australia, as a Rotary Foundation Fellow (1956). He received his LL.B. (Bachelor of Laws) from Boston University in 1957, graduating cum laude.

Neil completed his education at the University of Michigan, earning his LL.M. (Master of Laws) in 1959. He received his S.J.D. (Doctor of Juridical Science) in 1961, also from the University of Michigan, while employed as an Assistant Professor of Law at the Creighton University School of Law in Omaha, Nebraska.

Starting in 1961 he served as an Associate Professor of Law, and then Professor of Law, at the University of Connecticut. During this time he was also a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Indiana (1966-67). After leaving the University of Connecticut and moving to Colorado in 1970, Neil finished out his career as Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of Denver College of Law where he again spent time as a Visiting Professor of Law, this time at the University of Oklahoma (summer 1974) and at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario (1980-81). He retired in 1999 after almost 30 years at the University of Denver. He is listed in the Directory of American Scholars (Law) and Who’s Who of American Lawyers.

Aside from his dedication to his chosen profession, Neil was an avid stamp collector, voracious reader, committed crossword puzzler, and he loved the theatre as both a spectator and a participant. He appeared in two productions at the Bonfils Theater, “Auntie Mame” (1977) and “Harvey” (1978) where he met Jimmy Stewart and playwright, Mary Chase, on opening night. He played the title role in “The Oldest Living Graduate” with the University of Denver Summer Theater in 1979. He spent much of his free time volunteering for the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library, and the American Red Cross.

Neil also had a passion for travel, which was first ignited by his studies abroad in Australia. In 1978 he and his wife, Carla (Noth), traveled to Japan and China, among the first tourists to visit Beijing and Shanghai following the end of the Cultural Revolution. Many cruises followed with visits to cities in Western Europe, Scandinavia, the Mediterranean, Russia, Greece, and Turkey. Their last cruise in 2000-01 took them to Egypt, the Persian Gulf, India (including the Taj Mahal), Burma, Vietnam and Thailand. Everywhere he went, Neil made friends.

Neil is survived by his beloved wife of 35 years, Carla; three sisters: Mary, Jane, and Nancy; three daughters: Sharon, Deborah, and Jennifer; two grandchildren: Katherine and Stephen; his first wife and mother of his children, Marjorie (Belehrad); and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. His parents and his brother, Eldred, preceded him in death.

A simple service honoring Neil’s life will be held at 10 AM on Friday, November 9, 2012, at the Ivy Chapel in Fairmount Cemetery, 430 South Quebec Street, Denver.

The Littlefield family would like to express our gratitude for the exceptional care and compassion Neil received from the nursing staff at Swedish Hospital. Memorial donations may be made to the University of Colorado Foundation/College of Nursing. Please direct your gift to the Touched by a Nurse Endowment Fund in memory of Neil Littlefield. To make a donation, visit, or send a check to the University of Colorado Foundation, PO Box 17126, Denver, CO 80217-9155. Checks should be payable to CU Foundation, and the memo line should read “Touched by a Nurse Endowment Fund, IMO Neil Littlefield.”

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