“When you’re in the wilderness, you must listen to the ‘music’ of the woods. It soothes the soul.”
80-year-old Mike Little, who taught earth science and biology classes at Boardman High School from 1972-1999, recently reached a milestone when he rode his bike along the Greenway Trail, from Leetonia to Lisbon, Oh. The end of that ride marked some 80,000 miles Little had ridden on his bicycle in the last 50 years. His travels on his bike took him everywhere in America, including a month-long trek in Alaska, from Anchorage to Fairbanks.
A week ago, Little stopped by The Boardman News to tout his milestone achievement, leaving his phone number if this writer had any questions.
So, last Friday, a call was made to Little. His wife answered, informing on Wed., Aug. 31, Little died doing what he liked, riding his bicycle on the Little Beaver Trail in Columbiana County.
He apparently fell and struck his head and never recovered. Little had a unique passion, the wilderness, saying “Mother Nature can bring us together. It provides peace of mind, that’s why I like it. When you’re in the wilderness, you must listen to the ‘music’ of the woods. It soothes the soul” In addition to his exploits on his two-wheeler, Little also hiked all over America, including such gems as the Long Trail, Appalachain Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. Only days before his death, he and his wife, Karen, were set to embark upon a journey to Austria. While teaching at Boardman High School, Little organized camping trips for his students. “For some, it was a life-changing event,” he said.
Little was a teacher for 34 years including four years on a Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona, and 27 years at Boardman High School. Mike was also a National Park Ranger and worked at Wind Cave National Park, Colorado National Monument and Arches National Park. He also earned his pilot’s license and flew small airplanes in the 1990’s.
He served in the Air Force Reserves and was a member of the Benjamin Firestone Post #290 American Legion. He was also active in many clubs including, Nature Conservancy, National Geographic Society, Sierra Club and the Sebring Model Railroad Club.
Mr. Little is survived by his wife, the former Karen Conkle, whom he married on June 3, 1967; his daughter, Sarah (Glenn) Forney of Boise, Idaho and Molly (Dwight) Pavek of Albuquerque, New Mexico; seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren and siblings David Little and Rosemary Deioma. He was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Leetonia. Mike was born on August 1, 1942 in Dover, the son of the late Charles and Irene Monti Little.
PHOTO: MIKE LITTLE along the Greenway Trail just after completing a 50-year journey of 80,000 miles riding his bicycle.
This article was republished with permission from the Boardman News.