Henry Littlefield- Scholar,Soldier, Coach and Educator, 1933-2000 1-15-15

Henry Littlefield- Scholar, Soldier, Coach and Educator


Richard J. Garfunkel

January 15, 2015

I met Henry in 1961, as a 16 year old, high school student, at AB Davis High School in Mount Vernon, NY. Henry was an exceptional history teacher and history was one of my intellectual interests then, and now. (By the way, he was always voted as the best teacher in the high school.) But, I was also an athlete and Henry was emerging as one of the finest scholastic wrestling coaches in America. He had been a great competitor at Columbia University, was a Lieutenant in the US Marine Corp, where he wrestled and earned a black belt in Judo

fter his discharge from the service, he competed in the American amateur wrestling world of Olympic freestyle, Greco-Roman, and Partire. Henry competed for the NY Athletic Club and was a member of a number of National AAU winning teams. At 6’5″ and 250 lbs he was quite a mountain of a man. John Irving, the novelist and a enthusiastic amateur wrestler and coach described Henry in his memoir “Trying to Save Piggy Sneed” affectionately and he stated in an interview with “Salon” magazine, that he had two sets of friends, the literary types and the athletes- and they were mutually exclusive. Littlefield would have been one of the few friends of his that bridged the gap between his literary and athletic sides.

Henry grew up without a father, went to Trinity Prep, lived in Manhasset, LI, taught the legendary football great, Jimmy Brown how to wrestle in the “Y” pool, went to Columbia University, wrestled and played football for the class of 1954. He met Madeline Smith from Long Island, on a blind date, fell in love, and they were married in 1956.  Madeline grew up in Baldwin, Long Island. She attended the Grier School for girls in Tyrone, Pennsylvania, then earned her BA at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, majoring in music. She studied organ and sacred music at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and then earned her MA in Education at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. By the way, Henry later earned his MA and PhD from his alma mater, Columbia University.

When Henry went into the Marine Corps, he met the legendary General Lewis “Chesty” Puller at Camp Lejeune, was part of the 10th anniversary, re-enactment of the famous Marine landings on Okinawa, that last great and brutal battle of 1945. After his discharge, he started to teach in Mount Vernon in 1958. He founded a wrestling club in 1960 with Mount Vernon teachers and coaches; Sully Mott and the great Bill Sywetz, He became the coach of Mount Vernon’s first official team in 1961.

When we first met, in the fall of 1961, I told Henry that I had spent one year at Horace Mann and came in contact with Gus Petersen, who was the trainer there. Petersen was a famous “turn of the century” wrestler, and an equally famous coach at Columbia where Henry met him as Petersen’s coaching career was winding down. We both liked history and Henry asked me to help him with the wrestling team. From that day on we were rarely out of communication with each other for almost 40 years. Henry loved science fiction, baseball, mysticism (especially Edgar Cayce) and the ironies of history. When I met him, in my junior year at Davis, I was already regarded as one of the top history students. I had read practically every book on WWII in the MV public library by the time I was twelve, and Henry and I talked WWII history constantly. We hardly talked about wrestling and I rarely gave him my opinion on the sport until years later. I helped him run the practices at Edison Tech, and he turned over almost everything to me that involved management. I handled the ordering of the uniforms, the wrestling shoes, not sneakers, the headpieces, the kneepads and even the tape. I organized everything with complete fiat from the Coach. We had huge teams and he had to make order out of the chaos that could have developed. The high point of the practices was the wrestle-offs. I would time and score the wrestle offs. Quite often I would let the clock run and run to make sure a real decision was rendered. But no one ever questioned me. In fact, over those five years and the ensuing 10 or so, no one ever questioned me about anything. Just the fact that I had a “special” relationship with the “Man” gave me a lifetime pass. Both Randy and Jimmy always treated me like a “brother” and we got along famously until the end of the run in 1977. I was 32 years old and had seen hundreds of matches, scores of tournaments, and G-d knows how many matches. I knew almost all the Section I greats from 1961 until 1977. Who I did not know, Randy or Henry told me about. But after Jimmy Lee’s departure, I never saw Mount Vernon wrestle again.

I always regarded Henry’s record as second to none in Section I and maybe anywhere else. He had no worlds left to conquer. In six regular seasons he coached, his teams won five straight Section I titles 1963-4-5-6-7, three Division titles and a second. MV won two holiday titles along with two 3rds in the prestigious Calhoun HS tournament. (I shall take credit for one of those Division titles. The official scorers didn’t count one of our high placing’s, a 2nd or 3rd , in one of the weight classes, and just before the trophy was about to be given over to another coach and school, I ran over to Coach Littlefield, whispered in his ear, and gave him the new count. He went to Bob Litchard the Coach of Henry Hudson HS and it was resolved. It was our closest call.) MVHS was undefeated in Section I competition for those five years, won the unofficial State Section title in 1966-7 and produced in five years over 25 Section I Champions. In fact, in two back-to-back years, MVHS had eighteen wrestlers in the finals and came away with nine champions. Counting the holiday tournament, the division, Sections and the States, Henry produced over 60 champions. Henry accomplished this unparalleled record without the benefit of a junior high school program and with the limitation of a three-year high school. Many of his great champions; Jimmy Lee, Howie Wilson, Ricky O’Daniel, Alex Cunningham, Doug Garr, Jim Hardy, Mitchell Gurdus, John Carlucci, Mike Viggiano, Ray Johnson, Mario Criscione and Bob Panoff had barely two or three years of competitive wrestling. He was a master of drilling, isometrics, technique, and adaptability. He was always the great teacher. After our only loss in the 1962-3, season to Freeport, he realized that his team had been beaten by the up-to-that date, un-experienced chicken-wing/ half-nelson hold. No one had ever been taught the counter to that move! No MVHS team ever suffered from that hold again. Those years were truly marvelous and never to be forgotten. He was able to turn a group of poor kids from the two high schools, Davis and Edison, into a cohesive and caring group. Never once in the years that I witnessed his coaching, did I ever see him lose his temper, raise his voice or experience back talk or grousing from his men. Never once, did I see him lose his “cool” around the mat. Never once, did I ever see him “bait” a referee. The officials loved and respected him and his judgment. They all knew that he was the “master”. His opponents, coaches and wrestlers flocked to him for guidance and words of wisdom. Our wrestling room was always open to alumni from MVHS and the rest of Section I.

I saw many, many former opponents listening with rapt attention at the foot of the “master”. He treated them as men, as competitors and as worthy foe. It wasn’t long before they became his “grapplers”.

When I flew up to Niagara University for the State Championships of 1967, I experienced a similar type of comradery. Here I was included as almost a member of that great team. Here was Jimmy Davis, on top of the wrestling world (he’s still talked about today), the late great Alex Cunningham, Doug Garr and Mario Criscione all winners, and scoring members of that championship team. Here is the great Henry Littlefield in the center of the action and adulation, along with Randy Forrest one of the greatest competitors of our time and me! Here I come along from Boston University, flying in from Providence, Hartford and Syracuse and landing in a snowstorm. Here I am with not a bed to sleep in, nor literally a “pot to piss in,” and Henry says, “Richie get in the picture, you belong as much as anyone!” Wow! Top of the scholastic wrestling world, and even I did not know that this was his last match. The saga ended there and that night.

I was there with him when we walked out of the door of the White Plains HS on that cool March night of 1962, and he put his big arm around my shoulder. In our first official year as a team, Henry was telling me how he had made the mistake of wrestling Bobby Danetz at 183 instead of Howie Wilson, who wrestled up at heavyweight. He told me that he would never again let his heart outweigh his brain when it came to who should wrestle where. I was always at his side during the Divisions and Sections the next five championship years. In fact, at age 18 he had me run the Sections at MVHS and I ran it the next two years. What a great five years they were. We were undefeated in Section I dual meets, won some of the Holiday tourneys and four of five of the Divisions and all of the Sections. We broke all the scoring records, and re-wrote the history book of Section I!

When Mount Vernon won its State Section title in 1967, I witnessed a rare event in sports. Virtually all of the other champions and near champions flocked to his side. They wanted to be in the pictures with the great Littlefield and his team of stars; including the great and unparalleled Jimmy Davis and the lightweights; Alex Cunningham, Doug Garr, and Mario Criscione. To me it was a magic moment burned in my mind’s eye. Who knew that that night would be the end of his fabulous run? Of course, the dynasty continued for a number of years with the successes of his marvelous protégés Randy Forrest and Jimmy Lee. As much as I admired them both, it was never quite the same. Henry’s big shadow always remained omnipresent and his twelve league boots could never really be filled. Thankfully, Henry ran wrestling clinics in Westchester for a number of years while he was at Amherst. He always brought in some of the finest coaches on the East Coast and the clinics were always fully attended with hundreds of “grapplers” from all over Section I, which in those days was made up of schools from Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties.

I knew and loved that great man for 40 years until his untimely death at age 66. He left Mount Vernon High School for Northampton, Ma, and eventually Amherst College in 1967 as I had graduated college. He came to my wedding; my wife Linda and I visited him and his wife and daughters in his home on Massasoit Street in Northampton Ma. He taught history at Amherst, was Dean of Men, was their outstanding wrestling coach, and by the way, he lived in Calvin Coolidge’s old home! Henry wrote some great pieces on Cool Cal as our 30th president was known. During those years, I raised a family, ran a business, and we both talked on the phone and wrote often to each other. In fact, I estimate about 5000 letters, emails and calls were exchanged from September 1963 when I left for college and the spring of 2000 when he left us.

Henry went out to Monterrey, California after nine years at Amherst. He was such a great legendary figure in the Amherst wrestling room, that when he left, the team refused to have another coach. Henry settled eventually in Pacific Grove, ran the York School as Headmaster, taught and lectured at the Stevenson School on the Monterrey Peninsular and created a whole new world for himself. He acted, he preached Church sermons, wrote poetry and was a counselor to many. When Henry died of colon cancer, I traveled out there with of Henry’s protégé, a wonderful former wrestler and his successor, Coach Randy Forrest. Even though we flew to San Francisco together and drove down and back to Monterrey it was a lonely journey. Neither of us, both married with grown children and at ages 55 and 61, had ever been to California. It was a brave, sad, new world for both of us. Randy, a giant of a black man from neighboring New Rochelle, was a legendary figure to a nicely well-off Jewish kid from Mount Vernon. We came from two different worlds when we met in 1961. We were two different and distinct types of worshippers at the feet of this great and wonderful man. Even though he was only 11 years older than me and 5 years older than Randy, Henry was our leader bar none. We talked all the way to Monterrey and back. Once there, we were part of an incredible throng of 1000 or more people that came to his memorial service. Of those people, few even knew he had wrestled or had been one of the great coaches in America. If he had lived in the East for that extra 24 years, maybe 10,000 would have come out! It really closed a great and marvelous chapter of my life. It was a tearful farewell to his wonderful wife Madeline and their now grown children. I remembered when their second child Mary was born when I was a sophomore in high school. Now both little girls were grown women. So Randy and I traveled back after three long days together. We had not talked much in the last number of years, but we were totally immersed with each other. Can you imagine two men married about 70 years combined, traveling without our wives for the first time, and re-hashing wrestling bouts competed 35 years earlier? Strange! That was the last time I saw Randy. He moved to Virginia to be near his wife’s family and left New York, Westchester County and New Rochelle behind after 60 years. It was fitting. I met him because of Henry, and over the intervening 40 years we always talked about Henry, and now that Henry was gone maybe our time was gone too.

I remember so well Henry’s constant interest in the “Wizard of Oz.” He loved that story, and he loved mysticism. He always talked about Baum and what he was trying to say. In fact, one of Henry’s great legacies is his famous “Oz” 1964 parable, http://thewizardofoz.info/faq02.html, on the historical meanings of that legendary story. Henry always was searching for the real meaning of life. He was always wondering about those elusive answers. There was no one like him, and all who knew him will miss him forever.

Here are some thoughts on Henry by some who knew him best!

Doug Garr, one of Mount Vernon’s top wrestler, a close friend of Henry’s told of their meeting!

When my older brother Andy was a freshman at Lehigh he became hooked on amateur wrestling.  He took me to the NYAC to watch Henry wrestle, and encouraged me to write him a letter.  I was in 8th grade. I asked Henry for “tips on training” because I wanted to become a wrestler.  He never replied.  But after watching one Lehigh match in the Snake Pit (Grace Hall), packed to the rafters, I was hooked, too.

My career speaks for itself:  I was probably in the top 10 or at least 15 of MVHS grapplers based on my second place finish in the states in 1967, capping a 20-2-1 senior year.  My 73-win career total is probably in the top five or so.  Section I champion, three-time All-County, three-time division (or league) champion and Outstanding Wrestler in 1967. As a D-1 scholarship athlete at Syracuse, I fell short. Life got in the way.

Much of my success was due to Henry’s coaching and leadership.  I had a mediocre talent at best, and because of my dedication and sacrifice, it was left to the coach to mold me into something resembling a champion.

Henry himself was humble about all this, I’m sure.  He always felt that the better athletes needed little input from people like him.  This is one of the few things he was wrong about.  I’ve always felt that leadership qualities are largely unquantifiable.  You either have it or you don’t.  Henry, of course, had it.  And one indication is that he had to coach an incredibly heterogeneous group of athletes, racially and demographically.  North side of town, south side. Well off and poor, black and white.  I was always proud of the fact that we had Jews, Italians, and you name it on the varsity, unlike most successful teams we competed with.

That Henry saved that first letter I wrote to him and sent it back to me when I was 24 years old and on my own speaks volumes.  To this day, I wonder, how did he know…..?

Mitchell Gurdus, a Section I Champion in 1965, and a collegiate wrestler at Toledo University, wrote the following: It seems to me that anyone who’s known Henry Littlefield has been impressed by the experience.  Among other things, a Littlefield image that’s been permanently etched into my memory is his squint.

HML’s non-verbal messaging: I never was lucky enough to have Henry Littlefield as a classroom teacher.  I did, though, have a morning, cafeteria study-hall hour that he monitored. He’d usually be busy, head down, correcting or reading papers.  Whenever there was a table of kids getting too noisy, HML would only have to look over with a certain look that could correct the situation.  It was not an angry or threatening look, but more a look of measured disappointment. He’d show an exaggerated squinting of his eyes, mouth closed with a wide grimace-like expression. It’s amazing how much was communicated without his saying a word.

Early one morning during school time, Dr Panitz, who was then an Assistant Principal, while showing some visitors the school, popped into the wrestling room. I was in the wrestling room, in full sweat gear, trying to sweat off a number of pounds.  It was obviously clear to him that I was skipping class.

A short while later, Panitz marched me tin to see Henry who was in his classroom with class.  Henry was not happy to see me.  Without saying a single word, he unleashed what may have been the full power of that Littlefield squint. It was a You-know-that-I-know-that you-know look of disappointed irritation. I got the message, and so did Dr. Panitz.  It was a wordless 4 or 5 second Littlefield squint, after which, Dr. Panitz said, “Go to class.”

Mount Vernon vs its two arch rivalries:

White Plains                New Rochelle

1962-3             36-6                             28-17

1963-4             36-16                           42-5

1964-5             43-2                             51-2

1965-6             36-13                           50-0

1966-7             23-22                           44-5

Totals              174-59                         215-29

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About admin

A lifelong New Yorker, who now lives full-time in Palm Beach County, Richard was raised in Mount Vernon, New York and he was educated in the Mount Vernon public schools He graduated from Boston University with a BA in American History. After spending a year on Wall Street as a research analyst with Bache & Co., he joined a manufacturing and importing firm, where over the next twenty-five years he rose to the position of chief operating officer. After the sale of that business, Richard entered into the financial services field with Metropolitan Life and is a Registered Representative, who has been associated with Acorn Financial Services which is affiliated with John Hancock Life Insurance Company of Boston, Ma. Today, he is a retired broker who had specialized in long-term care insurance and financial planning. One of Richard’s recent activities was to advise and encourage communities to seek ways to incorporate “sustainability and resiliency” into their future infrastructure planning. After a lifetime in politics, with many years working as a district leader, which involved party organizational work, campaign chair activity and numerous other political tasks, Richard has been involved with numerous civic and social causes. In recent years, Richard served in 2005 as the campaign coordinator of the Re-Elect Paul Feiner Campaign in Greenburgh, NY and he again chaired Supervisor Feiner’s successful landslide victory in 2007. Over the next few years, he advised a number of political candidates. He has served as an appointed Deputy Supervisor of the Town of Greenburgh, with responsibilities regarding the town’s “liaison program.” He was a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board of the Town of Greenburgh, NY. Richard has lectured on FDR, The New Deal and 20th century American history in the Mount Vernon schools, at the Westchester Council of Social Studies annual conference in White Plains, and at many senior citizen groups, which include appearances at the Old Guard of White Plains, the Rotary Clubs of Elmsford and White Plains, and various synagogue groups around Westchester. In the winter of 2006 Richard was the leader of the VOCAL forum, sponsored by the Westchester County Office of Aging, which addresses the concerns of Westchester County’s Intergenerational Advocacy Educational Speak-out forums for senior citizens. Richard has given lectures for the Active Retirement Project, which is co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Center on the Hudson, the Greenburgh Hebrew Center, and other groups around Westchester County. Richard also is the founder and Chairperson of the Jon Breen Memorial Fund, that judges and grants annual prizes to students at Mount Vernon High School who submit essays on public policy themes. He also sponsors the Henry M. Littlefield History Prize for the leading MVHS history student. Richard serves on the Student College Scholarship Committee of Mount Vernon High School. In past years Richard chaired and moderated the Jon Breen Fund Award’s cablecast program with the Mayor and local and school officials. Richard has been a member of Blythedale Children’s Hospital’s Planned Giving Professional Advisory Board, and was a founding member of the committee to re-new the FDR Birthday Balls of the 1930’s and 1940’s with the March of Dimes’ effort to eliminate birth defects. Their renewal dinner was held at Hyde Park on January 30, 2003. Richard is currently an active contributor to the Roosevelt Institute, which is involved in many pursuits which included the opening of the Henry A. Wallace Center at Hyde Park, and the Eleanor Roosevelt – Val-Kill Foundation. In 2007, he proposed to the City of Mount Vernon an effort to develop an arts, educational, and cultural center as part of a downtown re-development effort. Richard was a team partner with the Infrastructure & Energy Solutions Group. IEFG which has developed innovative strategies for the 21st Century. Richard hosted a weekly program on WVOX-1460 AM radio, called “The Advocates,” which was concerned with “public policy” issues. The show, which was aired from 2007 until May 15, 2013, has had amongst its guests; Representative Charles Rangel, Chairperson of the House Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, along with hundreds of others. All the 300 shows are archived at http://advocates-wvox.com. Richard currently gives lectures on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, FDR and the Jewish Community, The New Deal, FDR and Douglas MacArthur, 20th Century American Foreign Policy Resulting in Conflict, and Israel’s Right to Exist. Richard lives in Boynton Beach, Fl, with his wife Linda of 44 years. They have two married children. Their daughter Dana is a Rutgers College graduate, with a MS from Boston University, and is the Assistant Director of Recruitment at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Their son Jon is an electrical engineering graduate of Princeton University and a senior software architect at NY/Mellon Bank in NYC. Richard J. Garfunkel rjg727@comcast.net Recent Appearances: KTI Synagogue, Rye Brook, NY- Long Term Care & Estate Conservation- Anshe Shalom Synagogue, New Rochelle, NY- Long Term Care- American Legion Post, Valhalla, NY- Long Term Care and Asset Protection- Doyle Senior Ctr, New Rochelle, NY-Long Term Care and Asset Protection- AME Methodist Ministers, New Rochelle, NY, LTC and Charitable Giving- Profession Women in Construction, Elmsford, NY, LTC and Business Benefits- Kol Ami Synagogue- White Plains, NY, Long Term Care and Disability - Beth El Men's Club-New Rochelle, NY-Long Term Care-Is it Necessary- Greater NY Dental Meeting Javits Ctr, NY, NY- LTC and Disability- IBEW Local #3 , White Plains, NY, Long Term Care and Asset Protection, Health Fair -Bethel Synagogue, New Rochelle, NY-LTC and Disability, Heath Fair- Riverdale Mens Club CSAIR- Riverdale, NY- LTC- Life Weight Watchers of Westchester and the Bronx-LTC and Tax Implications Sunrise Assisted Living of Fleetwood, Mount Vernon, NY-LTC Sprain Brook Manor of Scarsdale-LTC- November 15, 2001 Sunrise Assisted Living of Stamford, Connecticut, February 2002 Kol Ami Synagogue, White Plains, NY, February, 2002 The Old Guard Society of White Plains, NY, April, 2002 The Westchester Meadows, Valhalla, NY August, 2002 Kol Ami Synagogue, White Plains, NY, October, 2002 JCC of Scarsdale, Scarsdale, NY, November, 2002 The Westchester Meadows, Valhalla, NY, January, 2003 The Rotary Club of White Plains, NY January, 2003 The Westchester Meadows, Valhalla, NY April, 2003 Westchester Reform Temple, Scarsdale, NY January, 2004 Mount Vernon High School, Mount Vernon, NY March 2004 Kol Ami/JCC of White Plains, NY November, 2004 The Westchester Reform Temple, Scarsdale, January 2005 The Sunrise of Fleetwood, Mount Vernon, April, 2005 The Woodlands of Ardsley, assisted living, November, 2005 The Woodlands of Ardsley, assisted living, December, 2005 The Woodlands of Ardsley, assisted living, January, 2005 Rotary Club of Elmsford, April, 2006 Kiwanis Club of Yonkers, June, 2006 Greenburgh Jewish Center, November, 2006 Temple Kol Ami, White Plains, February, 2007 Hebrew Institute, White Plains, March, 2007 Temple Kol Ami, White Plains, NY, April, 2007 Westchester Meadows. Valhalla, November, 2007 Hebrew Institute. White Plains, November, 2007 Art Zuckerman Radio Show- January, 2008 JCC of the Hudson, Tarrytown, February, 2008 Matt O’Shaughnessy Radio Show, March, 2008 WVOX –Election Night Coverage, November, 2008 WVOX – Inaugural Coverage, January 20, 2009 The Advocates-host of the WVOX Radio Show, 2007- 2010 Rotary Club of Pleasantville, February, 2009 Hebrew Institute of White Plains, May, 2009 JCC Hudson, Tarrytown, December, 2009-10-11-12 Brandeis Club, Yonkers, March 25, 2010

12 thoughts on “Henry Littlefield- Scholar,Soldier, Coach and Educator, 1933-2000 1-15-15

  1. At this time of year I always remember Henry. I delivered his eulogy, (and later Madeleine’s). I found this today online and am filled with the same warm feelings and respect that I felt whenever I conversed with henry. Thank You
    Pat McAnaney
    Alameda Ca 2017

  2. What did Henry M. Littlefield look like? Is there any picture of him? I’m fascinated with his work on analyzing Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz.

    • I have plenty of pictures of Henry, he was 6’5″ about 250 lbs at his biggest and was a good looking former Marine Lieutenant.

  3. I very much enjoyed your piece on Coach Littlefield. He was a remarkable individual who made everyone strive to be a better person. I only wrestled my senior year (on the “B” team), but attended the summer YMCA wrestling programs Coach ran. Also, during the off seasons prior to joining the team I subjected myself to the torture Mitch Gurdus and Sinclair Brown bestowed upon me as they honed their offensive and defensive wrestling skills.
    Henry was instrumental in getting me into college. I was a reluctant learner with a solid C average. As my senior year was ending, Coach asked if I was going to college and if I was going to continue to wrestle. I didn’t have a clue. He led me to my guidance counselor. He told my guidance counselor that LIU was starting a wrestling program and had a program for students with potential but have not as yet applied themselves. The rest is history. I was the first in my family to go to college, wrestled fours, became a teacher and wrestling coach. I truly believe that none of this would have happened if not for Coach Littlefield’s caring, supportive, and generous nature.
    I wish I had started wresting in ninth grade maybe I would have able to beat James Clayton in some of those wrestle-offs. But more than that, I would have had more time with Coach. Richard, I hope you are well and are enjoying the Florida weather on this cold NY day.

  4. Great article about a great man. I am trying track down Doug Garr if possible. He was a great influence on my wrestling and personal development. We met at wrestling camp in New Jersey even though I was from Virginia. I had heard so many of the wonderful stories you told so well. Alex was at Norfolk State when I was at ODU and I spoke with Mario at the College Division Natinals.
    Thank you

  5. Henry was a ‘best friend’ to countless people. I was privileged to know this remarkable polymath. An amazing brain, but even more impressive heart. I delivered his eulogy, as well as Madeleine’s… and there just weren’t enough words to to justice to either of them. Thanks for this piece. Like any number of I’ll remember Henry for the rest of my life. As he was dying, I asked him what he thought would happen when he passed. He said: “I think I’ll meet Jesus, along with all the people I ever loved”. I told him: “If you meet all the people who love you, Henry, It will be a multitude”.

  6. Henry was a ‘best friend’ to countless people. I was privileged to know this remarkable polymath. An amazing brain, but even more impressive heart. I delivered his eulogy, as well as Madeleine’s… and there just weren’t enough words to do justice to either of them. Thanks for this piece. Like any number of people, I’ll remember Henry for the rest of my life. As he was dying, I asked him what he thought would happen when he passed. He said: “I think I’ll meet Jesus, along with all the people I ever loved”. I told him: “If you meet all the people who loved YOU, Henry, It will be a multitude”.

  7. This was a fascinating a moving tribute. Thank you! He seems to have been a remarkable person and a great mentor and coach.

    Was his middle name “Mario,” does anyone know? I am trying to discover more about Walter Littlefield, whose son was named Henry Mario. I am wondering if Walter was possibly your Coach’s grandfather.

  8. Hi
    I have info about Walter and Luigina Littlefield.
    I’m Henry littlefield’s daughter Mary.
    Lots of wonderful stories associated with Walter
    And yes, he was the foreign editor of the NYT for, I believe, 40 years. He was a character and people there called him “the Count”. He broke some pivotal stories back then. I believe the Dreyfus Case was one of them and another was The Black Hand.
    He always carried a pipe, because it was distinguished looking, but he didn’t smoke. He often wore a rust colored velveteen beret too. I have a few photos that he took of himself in one of those dime store photo booths, apparently.
    When the stock market crashed everybody had to move into Walter and luigina’s apartment because he was the only one with a job!
    More stories. More stories.

    • Hello from sunny Palm Beach County. There has been a great deal of water that has flowed over the dame since we last saw each other 23 years ago. I am fine, my wife Linda and I just celebrated our 54th Wedding anniversary and I’ll contact you by email! Glad ro see your name. I think about you and your sister often. By the way our two “kids” Dana who is 50 lives in No. Billerica, MA with her family. My son Jon lives in Mount Kisco, NY with his family! I’ll email you directly! Richard

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