Donald Vaughan Little died on
February 29, 2012, from injuries sustained in an accident while
competing in the Masters Classic in the International Arena at
the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida. He was
seventy-seven years old.
Don was born in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, and resided for most of his adult life at his family
farm in Ipswich, Massachusetts, with Judy, his devoted wife of
fifty-seven years. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, was
an avid pilot and achieved the rank of Captain in the U.S. Air
Force. He was the youngest aircraft commander flying B-47 bombers
and was awarded the coveted designation as a “select crew” in the
Strategic Air Command.
His love for aviation came from his
longtime stepfather Crocker Snow who was a renowned civil and
military pilot and a pioneer of civil aviation. Don piloted the
single engine 1947 Navion inherited from him throughout the country.
In addition to their annual trips to Florida and the Caribbean, Don
and Judy toured many destinations together including the National
Parks in 2006 and Alaska in 2007.
Professionally, he was a highly
successful stock broker and institutional investor. He remained at
the same desk for forty-eight years at UBS and its predecessor
companies, PaineWebber and Kidder Peabody. He created his own
investment team and constantly placed among the top five producers
in Boston for the duration of his career.
He had numerous recreational
interests including shooting, fishing and traveling, yet horses were
his lifelong passion. He was Captain of Polo for eighteen years at
Myopia Hunt Club in South Hamilton, MA, the oldest active polo club
in the country. He further promoted the sport as President of the
United States Polo Association (USPA). By the mid 1980s he
transferred his equestrian energies to fox hunting and show jumping.
He was appointed Master of the Hounds at Myopia in 2001, a
position he held until his death, and he founded and managed both of
the current Boston Grand Prix Jumper Classic Horse Shows during the
period 1991 to 2011.
Befitting his love of horses, he
pioneered the syndicated racehorse business, establishing Centennial
Farms Management Company in 1982 to manage a small and select group
of thoroughbred racehorses for individual investors. A highpoint
came in 1993 when the Centennial horse Colonial Affair won the
Belmont Stakes with Julie Krone aboard, the first female jockey ever
to win the famed race. The enterprise exists today, run by Little’s
surviving son, Donald Jr.
Don’s warm and gregarious nature
characterized all these activities. “Don was charismatic,” said
longtime family friend Mary Ann Esdaile from Hamilton, and a winter
resident of Wellington. “He drew people in to his passions. He
brought us all along smiling.”
In his active senior years, Don
competed and prevailed in many jumping events throughout the North
America including the Northeastern United States, Wellington,
Florida and Spruce Meadows in Canada. In 2006 he competed in the
Global Champions Tour, a special invitational tour where junior and
amateur riders compete against each other. With his trustworthy and
invincible “Mr. Nightime” and his stable mate “Soprano”, he traveled
to St. Tropez, Cannes and Monte Carlo, where they triumphed.
“It is a huge loss for his wide
circle of family, friends and associates,” said
longtime polo partner Summerfield Johnston of Chattanooga, TN. “Don
was naturally inclusive. It was one of his wonderful traits.”
The only son of Douglas Little from
Wales, England and Janice Vaughan Snow from Ipswich, Don is survived
by his wife Judith, son Donald Jr., and daughter Andrea, all of
Ipswich, sister Patricia Little Moseley of Hamilton, half
brothers Crocker Snow Jr. of Ipswich, Andrew J. Little of Chipping
Norton, England and grandchildren Donald III and James Little, and Tapley and
Funeral services will be held at Christ the Redeemer Anglican
Church, 188 Elliott Street, (Rte 62) Danvers, on Thursday, March
8 at 12:00 noon. Arrangements by the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of
Ipswich. In lieu of flowers,
the family asks for donations to: Fisher House Boston, 111 Rockville
Pike, Suite 420, Rockville, MD 20850, Dana Farber Cancer Institute &
Jimmy Fund, 10 Brookline Place West, 6th Floor, Brookline, MA 02445,
Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, PO Box 3387, Saratoga
Springs, NY 12866, or the Life Fund FBO, Boston Park Rangers Mounted
Unit, 125 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115.