Hugh Thomas Little, 74, owned used-car dealership

February 19, 2000|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Hugh Thomas Little, owner of a used-automobile dealership in Essex that featured a petting zoo to entertain children while buyers shopped for cars, died Sunday of cancer at his Perry Hall home. He was 74.

Mr. Little was president and owner of Don's Motors in the 8100 block of Eastern Ave. from 1965 until he sold the business and retired in 1988.

"It was not unusual to see customers inspecting cars on my Dad's front line accompanied by roosters, guinea hens and ducks. The customers may have been nonplused, but their children were delighted, and so many car buyers became repeat customers," said his daughter, Karen L. Lyon of Kingsville.

Known as a champion of the underdog with a fondness for those temporarily experiencing cash-flow problems, Mr. Little would accept almost anything in payment for a car or repair work.

"Customers would often pay with a service, a favor, food or even animals," Mrs. Lyon said. "He often brought home baskets of fresh vegetables or chicken. He once was given so many ham hocks that they filled our freezer and lasted for years."

Born and raised on a farm in Whiteford, in Harford County, Mr. Little was a graduate of Slate Ridge High School. During World War II, he was underage but lied about his age and joined the Navy, serving aboard a destroyer in the North Atlantic as a member of the vessel's gunnery crew. He was discharged in 1945.

After the war, he worked for Landy Motors and was used-car manager for Luby Chevrolet in Baltimore before purchasing Don's Motors.

He was an avid bird watcher and gardener.

Services were held Thursday.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife of 30 years, Janice Lee Little; two brothers, Robert Little of Westminster and Augustus Little of Whiteford; and a granddaughter.

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