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Clyde Rabb Littlefield

Obituary for Clyde Rabb Littlefield

March 10, 1931 - March 7, 2018
Austin, Texas | Age 86


A life well lived, from climbing Mt. Fuji to viewing Paris from the Eifel Tower. In between were many exhilarating and heart breaking experiences, from birth in March 10, 1931 to death March 7, 2018.

Born in St. David's Hospital on West 17th Street, Austin, Texas to Henrietta and Coach Clyde Littlefield, young Clyde Rabb spent many wonderful summers on his maternal grandparent's farm in northeast Texas, Camp Stewart for Boys at Hunt, and traveling by car with his parents to national track meets on the East and West Coasts. One summer as a teenager, he and two companions motored to Mexico City. After running out of money, they quickly returned to Austin. On the trip, they attended a bullfight, prompting young Clyde to witness other fights on his subsequent visits to Mexico.

While growing up in Austin, he was a member of the University Methodist Church and the Boy Scout Troop 20 meeting at the University Presbyterian Church. He attended Austin public schools: Wooldridge Elementary on West 24th Street, University Junior High on San Jacinto Blvd., and Austin High on Rio Grande. He studied government, history, and international relations at The University of Texas, earning a B. A. degree in 1953, and an M.A. in 1958. Post master studies were at University of Southern California, University of Kansas, and University of Hawaii. As a high school student, he was inducted into the National Honor Society, the Woodrow Wilson Social Club, and was a starter on the 1948 bi-district championship football team.

While a University of Texas student, Clyde was a U.S. Air Force ROTC cadet. Upon receiving his B. A. degree, he was commissioned a second lieutenant and promptly dispatched via troop ship to Korea. While enroute, a three-year old Korean war stopped as a result of a cease fire agreement. In this war torn country, Clyde served primarily as a command historian. One memorable assignment occurred after he was assigned to advanced headquarters in Seoul. He was sent to the Demilitarized Zone in a jeep with an armed escort to carry an important message to the United Nation's commander: a North Korean Mig had been shot down over international waters, the first such incident since the cease fire.

For his second and final year in East Asia, he again drew an assignment as a command historian, this time stationed at Tachikawa just outside of Tokyo, Japan. Following side trips to Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Macao, Iwo Jima, and numerous interesting spots in Japan, he returned to the states to do graduate work at The University of Texas.

Upon earning an M. A. degree, he briefly worked for Hughes Tool Company in the oil fields of Kansas and the Oklahoma panhandle. He soon returned to the Air Force, this time as a civilian historian, a career which would last 20 years. His profession called for him to work in Los Angeles, Kansas City, Honolulu, Wiesbaden, Germany and Washington, D. C. From these work stations, he was able to visit Okinawa, Taiwan, all the inhabited islands of Hawaii, London, Paris, Vienna, and numerous places in Germany. During his stint in Kansas City he taught American government at the local junior college. While assigned to Air Force headquarters and as a member of the Washington, D. C. Ski Club, he sailed on the Chesapeake Bay. As a parishioner of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, Alexandria, Virginia, he participated in annual retreats in the Appalachian Mountains. During his career as a civilian with the Air Force, his histories encompassed ballistic missile development, North American air defense preparations, European operations, Vietnamese War tactics, and the proposed B-1 intercontinental bomber.

Retiring from the Air Force, he returned to his hometown, embarking on a career in real estate investment and management. Concentrating on central Austin, he sold property to the city for its convention center. He received in May 1985 an award from the Austin Heritage Society for restoring the oldest existing structure on Congress Avenue, the Robinson-Rosner Building, later featured in Texas Highways magazine.

Back in Austin and pursuing his interest in history, he spent much of his spare time researching the first decades of The University of Texas, the origins and fates of the men who shaped the early history of the school. He produced a book in 2008 on the beginnings of the local chapter of Kappa Alpha Order, his fraternity while a student. His research led him to become a member of the advisory board for the University's Center for American History, the prestigious archival depositary.

Upon returning to his hometown, he joined the social group being formed by some who grew up in Austin during the World War II era, The Austin Assembly. He also joined the downtown Austin Club, the English Speaking Union, and the church were many of his childhood friends attended, the downtown St. David's Episcopal. He became a Life Member of The University of Texas Ex-Students' Association, a donor to the Longhorn Foundation, The Texas Cowboys, and other university related organizations. He supported with his time & talents the local chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order.

His grandfather, John Wesley Littlefield, an oil driller, arrived in Texas in 1904, shortly after Spindletop blew in near Beaumont. A widower, he left in 1909 for Tampico, Mexico. As a consequence, John Wesley's son Clyde (the deceased's father) enrolled in private preparatory schools in San Antonio where he starred as an athlete. With a preparatory school record, Clyde entered The University of Texas where he earned 12 varsity letters. After completing university studies, Clyde began his coaching career at Greenville High School in northeast Texas. It was here that he met a teacher named Henrietta Rabb, who later became his wife. Henrietta was a graduate of the College of Industrial Arts, the all woman's college in Denton, Texas, and her family traced their lineage back to the days of the Republic of Texas.

The deceased is preceded in death by his parents, wife Mildred Alice Hovey, a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and their infant daughter Lillian. He is survived by his sister-in­law Lynn Bonin, her daughter Lynette and husband Gene Bourgeois, many cousins and a host of friends.

Honorary pallbearers are C. A. Smith, Matthew Gauthier, Stan Huntsman, Jack Ritter, Tom Ward, Pat Rose, and Richard Parker.

A visitation will be held at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 North Lamar Blvd. on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. A memorial service will be at St. David' s Episcopal Church, 304 E. 7th Street on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. with reception immediately following.

Memorials may be made to St. David' s Episcopal Church, The University of Texas at Austin, or the charity of your choice.

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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