Rannal Eugene “Gene” Little

WORLAND – Rannal Eugene “Gene” Little of Worland died on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at Billings Clinic Hospital in Billings, Mont.

Gene was born on Jan. 23, 1930 in Mercer, Mo., a son of Cecil and Violet (Shields) Little. He attended grade school in Missouri before moving to Mansfield, S.D. to live with his grandparents.

He joined the U.S. Army in 1947 and was stationed at Camp Stoneman, Calif. Following his discharge in late 1948, he returned to South Dakota before moving to Davenport, Iowa.

In Davenport, he worked for Brammer Manufacturing, a major cabinet-building company. He worked for them and was the assembly management supervisor for the company when he retired in 1986.

Gene met Elizabeth A. “Betty” Matthew while working at Brammer. They were married on Feb. 2, 1952 at Galesburg, Ill. The couple lived in the Quad Cities area. He and Betty bought property in Worland in 1981 and moved a little bit of their furniture to their new home in Wyoming each year until finally settling here in 1986.

Gene loved the mountains and started coming to Wyoming in the 1950s. He was an avid horseman all of his life. He loved to hunt big game and to go fishing. He was a longtime member of the Shoshone Backcountry Horsemen and was a member of the Worland Elks Lodge.

His attraction to the mountains included frequent pack trips to Lake Solitude and other lakes in the Big Horn Mountains. He loved to camp at Battle Park Campground and was known as the unofficial caretaker and mayor of Battle Park. He was a photographer and had hundreds of pictures of the back country trips.

Gene was a great neighbor to his friends on West River Road and helped them put up firewood, plow snow and always offered to help them in any manner.

He loved to go to auctions and always tried to be there first to get Number One on the bidding cards.

He was preceded in death by his parents and by his wife, Betty, in 2008.

Gene is survived by his nephews, Terry (Donna) Preszler of Chillicothe, Mo., Rick Preszler of Princeton, Mo. Steve Miller of Loves Park, Ill. and Tommy Miller of Princeton; his niece, Cindy Vandeenburg of Springfield, Mo.; and by a close group of friends in Worland.

The casket will be open at Veile Mortuary on Tuesday, April 19 from 7-8:30 p.m.

The funeral service will be held on Wednesday, April 20 at 1 p.m. at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Worland with Rev. Guy Helms officiating. Burial will follow at the Ten Sleep Cemetery in Ten Sleep, Wyo. at 2:34 p.m.

Veile Mortuary of Worland is in charge of the funeral arrangements.