FRANKLIN BOROUGH, NJ – Former New Jersey State Senator Robert E. Littell (R-24) has passed away after a long illness. He was 78.
Fondly remembered by many as “Bob,” the name he asked those who knew him to refer to him as, rather than a political title, former colleagues and friends have remembered the late former senator with words of admiration.
“New Jersey lost a giant today,” Senator Steven Oroho (R-24), Littell’s successor to his seat, released in a statement. “Senator Littell was universally respected because of his fairness and institutional knowledge, but most of all because he was a true gentleman. Even at the highest levels of state politics, he maintained his humble nature. He much preferred to be known simply as “Bob’ as opposed to any political title. I considered him a good friend, neighbor and mentor. He leaves a lasting legacy on the state and most especially his beloved home county of Sussex.”
Assemblyman Parker Space (R-24) also released a statement.
“My family and I are deeply saddened by the loss of Senator Littell, who we all affectionately called Bob at his request,” Space said. “He was good friends with my late grandfather Ralph, and my dad Fred for decades, where I got to know him when I was a young man. As an elected official, it was a privilege to work with him while he was in office during my tenure on the Wantage Township Committee.”
Sussex County Freeholder Phil Crabb posted on Twitter this morning a similar message mixed with sadness and admiration.
“RIP Senator Bob Littell, “Crabb wrote. “Great Statesman. Good friend and neighbor. The political lion of Sussex County.”
Littell was born Jan. 1, 1936 in Orange, NJ. to Senator Alfred B. Littell and Dorothy Kershner. He reigns as one of the longest serving New Jersey State Legislators.
Littell received his education at Franklin High School and Princeton’s Hun School. He was a member of the Marine Corps in the Korean War from 1953 through 1956, and was later involved with American Legion Post 132.
Littell served as on the Franklin Borough Council between 1963 and 1965. Littell was a New Jersey Assemblyman from 1968 through 1992, having served in both the 15th and 24th Legilative Districts. He began his service to the New Jersey State Senate beginning in 1992, and served until 2008. His daughter Alison Littell McHose began serving as Assemblywoman in the same legislative district as her father beginning in 2003.
While in the senate, Littell was the Budget and Appropriations Chair and later the Senate Budget Officer. In terms of committees, he was involved with: Budget and Appropriations, Labor, Legislative Services, and Intergovernmental Relations.
In 1976, he served as a delegate for the Republican National Convention.
While involved in the legislature, Littell championed legislation for the agricultural community in Sussex County and statewide, with the Littell family having owned a Sussex County farm in Sparta for more than 200 years. In 2001 he was a Distinguished award Recipient from the State of New Jersey Department of Agriculture. Among his accolades for agriculture were: the Open Space Commission, Farmland Assessment Act Amendments, Agriculture Economy Recovery and Development Initiative, Emergency Disaster Relief Act of 1999, the Farmland Preservation Program, and the New Jersey Museum of Agriculture.
He received an honorary doctorate from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Littell also served as a trustee for Centenary College and received an honorary law doctorate from that institution.
Locally, Littell was the President of Littell Gas Service and Littell’s Television and Appliance Center, and was part of the Sussex County Peace Office Association. In Franklin, Littell was an exempt member of the Franklin Fire Department and was involved with Franklin’s Recreation Commission.
He was additionally a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and dedicated his time to the March of Dimes.
At the end of 2013, the Sussex County Viaduct Bridge in Franklin was dedicated in Littell’s honor.
Littell leaves behind wife Virginia (Ginnie) Littell (Ginnie Littell has served as chair of the New Jersey Republican Committee), daughter Alison Littell McHose and her family, and son Luke Littell and his family.
“It is humbling to know that I am serving the people of northwestern New Jersey in the same position – as a member of the General Assembly – in which Bob served with distinction for 22 years before being elected to the State Senate,” Space said. “New Jersey lost a fine legislator and public servant when he retired in 2007. Today, his family has lost a dedicated and loving husband, father, and grandfather, while we all lost a friend.”
“I know friends, neighbors, constituents, and elected officials from all over join me in expressing our sincere condolences to his wife, Ginnie, his daughter, my colleague Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose, his son, Luke, and the entire Littell family, who have deep roots in Sussex County,” said Oroho. “We not only convey our deepest sympathies, but celebrate and remember Senator Littell’s enduring contributions to the state’s citizenry.”
Editor’s Note: NJ Inside Scene offers deepest condolences to the Littell and McHose families, and friends of Senator Robert Littell.
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