Obituary: Charles Oran Little


Photo provided by Milward Funeral Directors

Charles Oran Little, 87, husband of Myrtle Marie Billeck Little, passed away peacefully at home on December 17, 2022, in Lexington, KY. He was born on July 21, 1935 in Schulenburg, TX to the late Hubert L. and Louise Rabner Little. In addition to his loving wife of 67 years, he is survived by their three daughters, Linda Jo Little, Donna Little (Tommy) Griggs and Sandy Little (Phillip) Copher; three grandchildren, Madison Marie Copher, Megan Elizabeth Griggs, and McKaylee Linn Copher; and one brother, Louis Edward Little.

He served the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment as Dean and Director of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service from 1988-2000. He leaves behind a legacy of numerous footprints on agriculture in Kentucky and across the country.

After graduation from Schulenburg High School in 1953, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston in 1957 and master’s and doctoral degrees in animal nutrition and biochemistry from Iowa State University in 1959 and 1960. In 1960 he began his career at the University of Kentucky, becoming a full professor in 1967. From 1969-1985 he served as Associate Dean for Research and Associate Director of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station. In 1985, he became Vice Chancellor for Research at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center and Director of the Louisiana Agriculture Experiment Station until his return to the University of Kentucky in 1988.

He was a longtime devoted member of Southern Hills United Methodist Church where he served in many leadership roles during the past 62 years. In addition, he was a member of the Kentucky State Fair Board, The Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association, Kentucky Farm Bureau, and The Lexington Rotary Club.

Visitation will be held Tuesday, January 3, 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. at Milward- Man O’ War, Lexington, with the funeral services on Wednesday, January 4, 1:00 p.m. at Southern Hills United Methodist Church, Lexington. A private burial will follow at Lexington Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Southern Hills United Methodist Church, 2356 Harrodsburg Road, Lexington, KY 40503 ( or the C. Oran & Myrtle Little Scholarship Fund at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment. Make checks payable to the University of Kentucky and send to the UK CAFE Philanthropy Office; ATTN: Little Scholarship, 1451 University Drive, Lexington, KY 40546.