Richard G. Lyttle: 1924-2004

Well-known Meeker historian Richard G. Lyttle, 79, died suddenly Sunday, Oct. 10, at Pioneers Hospital.

Richard Gibson Lyttle, Jr. was born Dec. 22, 1924, in Laramie, Wyo., the son of Richard Gibson and Jessie Margaret (Gillis) Lyttle.

Lyttle attended school in Meeker and graduated from Rio Blanco County High School in 1942. Lyttle attended college at the University of Colorado, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism in 1949. He went on to further his education with a Master of Arts degree in social sciences from Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minn.

On June 18, 1950, Lyttle was united in marriage to Mary Beth "Becky" Latson at the Methodist Church in Glenwood Springs.

From 1933 until leaving Meeker in 1962, Lyttle helped operate the family newspaper, The Meeker Herald.

In 1962, he left Meeker to teach school in Nome, Alaska, leaving Nome to begin teaching at Northland Community College in Thief River Falls, Minn. Lyttle retired from teaching in 1988 and returned to his beloved Meeker, where he became active in numerous community affairs.

Lyttle served on the Meeker Town Council, on the vestry of St. James' Church, on the board of the Rio Blanco County Historical Society and was an active member of the Meeker Lions Club.

He was a year member of the Masonic Lodge, having been initiated and raised while living in Nome. At the time of his death, he held dual lodge memberships in Thief River Falls and in Rio Blanco Lodge #80, AF&AM.

He loved and was considered by many to be the pre-eminent expert of Meeker history, so much of the history having been documented by his father and grandfather. Lyttle wrote a column titled "Roping the Past" in the Rio Blanco Herald Times and also wrote a column on the history of St. James' Church for the church newsletter.

He taught a course in Meeker history at Colorado Northwestern Community College and also assisted in literacy education in Meeker.

He was an active member of St. James' Church where he routinely assisted in teaching the Wednesday Children's Chapel.

For many years, he was a leader in the Explorer Scout program, using his vast knowledge and love of the outdoors to work with young scouts.

Lyttle was a voracious and unapologetic CU Buffaloes fan, remained true to Minnesota and was a die-hard Vikings and Minnesota Twins fan.

He will long be remembered for the many years he portrayed Nathan Meeker in the Meeker Massacre Pageant, aptly donning a T-shirt that quipped "I Survived The Meeker Massacre."

Lyttle had a great sense of humor and a steadfast sense of honor, trust and dignity.

Survivors include Becky, his loving wife of 54 years; one son, Bill Lyttle, and his wife, Annette, of Colorado Springs; two sisters, Betty Oldland and Margo Coons, both of Meeker; two nieces, Janice Oldland and Kathy Thornsby; and two nephews, Alan Oldland and Robert Oldland.

Lyttle's parents and one nephew, Don Coons, preceded him in death.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 14 at St. James' Episcopal Church with Randall Cochran officiating.

Interment will follow in the Highland Cemetery. Masonic rites will be conducted by Rio Blanco Lodge #80, AF&AM.

Friends may make memorial contributions to the Rich Lyttle Memorial Fund through First National Bank of the Rockies.

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