Paul Michael Little
Paul (Mike to his wife and most of his friends) passed away on June 25 from complications from emphysema. He was 77 years old.
Mike was born in Chico, California, the eldest son of Paul and Carrie Little. Paul’s work at the Department of Employment necessitated a move several times; first from Chico to Berkeley, and then to Sacramento, where the family was finally able to put down roots.Mike attended the University of California at Berkeley and then Boalt Law School, where he was both Law Review and Order of the Coif. While at Cal, Mike was in ROTC, and after law school, he fulfilled his commitment to the army by serving in the Judge Advocate General Corp for three years, stationed at the Pentagon. After his release from the Army, Mike and his wife, Sandy, returned to California, where Mike went to work in San Francisco as an associate at what was then Cooley, Crowley, Gaither, Godward, Castro, and Huddleson (now known simply as “the Cooley Firm”. In the early years at the firm, Mike did not specialize, but rather learned his craft working with a number of outstanding mentors in several areas, including taxation, estate planning, real estate law, and emerging companies, primarily in Silicon Valley. Mike became a partner of the firm in 1972. In later years, he became the head of the real estate practice group. He also worked in agribusiness law on behalf of a Swiss client who owned a Central Valley pistachio ranch.
Although Mike found work at Cooley very rewarding, and he treasured the friendships made at the firm, he had a number of things on his “bucket list” that he wanted to do. So, in a highly unusual move, he retired as a partner at the age of 55, becoming “of counsel.” He still continued to do his agribusiness work and continued to negotiate leases for the firm, but he had a reduced work week, which allowed him to pursue other interests, paramount of which were photography, playing jazz piano, writing family history stories, and spending more time at the family cabin in Tahoe, where Mike’s camera was put to good use photographing wildflowers.
Mike’s greatest joy was spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren. Mike and Sandy moved from California to the Northwest to be closer to their children. They bought homes in Bellingham, WA, where one daughter lives and in Hillsboro, OR, near where their other daughter lives. Mike felt very fortunate to live in two places he loved, attending soccer games, school open houses, theatrical performances and other special events and watching his grandchildren blossom.
Mike is survived by his wife, Sandy; daughter Susan Hemingson (Chris); daughter Amy Mild (Eric); four grandchildren, Tessa and Grayson Mild and Maya and Zoe Hemingson; brother Steve (Judy) from Anaconda, Montana.
Friends and family can honor Mike by donating to one of the following charities: the ACLU; Southern Poverty Law Center; Planned Parenthood; Doctors Without Borders, and Whatcom Hospice Foundation.
Those of you who were touched by Mike’s life and your relationship with him may wish to observe a moment of silence to reflect and remember what he meant to you.