|Address||Sussex Borough, New Jersey |
Sussex, New Jersey , United States
|| July 23, 1936
|| February 22, 2020
Feb 23, 2020 09:02pm
|Info||Former Mayor Katherine A. Little, whose decades of public service were capped by a second term as mayor that ended less than two months ago, is being remembered today for the big impact she had on the borough after passing away late Saturday. |
Little, 83, was honored just three weeks ago with a ceremonial proclamation by the current mayor and council, which was presided over by state Assemblyman Parker Space, recognizing her for her contributions to the civic life of the community she loved and called home for nearly her entire life.
A resident of Sussex Borough since she was 4 years old, Little was first elected to the Borough Council in 1988 and later served her first four-year term as mayor from 2004 through 2007. Following the completion of her first term as mayor, she continued to volunteer as a member of the borough’s Planning Board and in other capacities.
She returned to the council in 2015 and, before the year was out, was elected to a second four-year term as mayor that ran from January 2016 through the end of December 2019.
Little — who, with her husband George, raised three children in the borough — continued her volunteerism and service even during times of personal grief and adversity, which included the loss of her husband in April 2014 along with various health issues she suffered since then.
At a Sussex County Economic Development Partnership dinner honoring Sussex County mayors in 2018, Little spoke publicly and candidly of her struggle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, known as COPD, and its continuing impact on her breathing and overall health. At the time, she noted that she had never been a smoker and urged people to heed its warning signs and symptoms, noting that the disease can strike anyone.
Those who knew and worked with Little said that in spite of these difficulties, she was determined to finish out her most recent term as mayor and to serve all four years, just as she committed to do when she ran five years ago for the mayor’s seat again at the urging of those close to her.
Far from being merely a figurehead or caretaker mayor, Little took on a number of significant projects during her most recent term as mayor that included the reconstruction of the dam at Lake Rutherford from which the borough receives its drinking water. She also presided over improvements to the borough’s water treatment system and sewer utilities as well as preparations for a planned ShopRite supermarket and for the revitalization of Main Street.
At the time her term as mayor ended Dec. 31, Little had also been in the process of guiding the borough through the approval process for a new underground water line that, when eventually completed, will connect directly from Lake Rutherford to the borough’s water treatment plant on Route 23 in Wantage.
Still, to hear those who knew her well tell it, Little’s impact extended far beyond her role as a mayor or borough official alone. For Rich Klein, chairman of the borough’s Planning Board, it meant getting to know Little not only as a colleague but also as a neighbor and friend who shared his love of local history.