Rodney was born 19 April 1955 at Presbyterian Hospital, Albuquerque, NM to Janet Anne and Cecil Max Littleton.
Rodney died 14 October 1979 at approximately 1820 hours local in Albuquerque, NM of a motorcycle – automobile accident on Tramway Blvd.
Rodney Alan Littleton was my brother, my friend, my confidant, my adviser, , my protector, my tormentor, my competition and my shadow for the first 21 years of my life. We fought as only brothers can in our early years. However, my mother started to worry when we stopped fighting. She figured that we were starting to plot against the world in unison. She was right.
After we stopped fighting, we started covering up for each other. Rodney would tell me about teachers in High School. For example, Rodney told me to ignore Mr. H.P. Walter's rather grumpy, seemingly angry, reactions and just keep pressing for an explanation. Rodney was right, Mr. Walter would help to the end of the earth after the grump, antacids and puff of his cigar. As a result of Rodney's success in high school biology (and my weak stomach), I went to great lengths to avoid the subject. I took chemistry and physics instead and avoided being compared to my older brother.
Band was another thing. I walked into the band room with a set of friends and at least one enemy. To Rodney's friends, I was Little Littleton. To the band director, I was someone to watch. I enjoyed having the ready-made friends, but I would have preferred “Paul” over “Little.” As in all of life, most things are at least double edged swords.
Another sword of double edge were girls. For some rather odd reason, we seemed to be attracted to the same girls. This turned out to be a source of great confusion, consternation, irritation and eventually anger. To all of you that are reading this and have a brother, or sister, please develop a desire of some other type of significant other. Life and you relationship with you sibling will be far less complicated.
Rodney was intelligent and driven most, if not all, of his life. He knew from about the 7th grade that he wanted to be a doctor. And the rest of his education, through college, was aimed at that goal. As I mentioned above, he excelled in high school biology as well as math and just about every other subject. After graduation he went to the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, NM. There he majored in biology. The only subject that I remember him have trouble with was physics. Thanks to the (probably heroic) efforts of Rodney's friend and physics tutor, Ralf Grummer, Rodney even did well in that class. Rodney also managed to pick up a couple of strays during his time in Socorro. John Ridens and Ed Sagon were a couple of interesting friends. Rodney would bring them up to Albuquerque when they absolutely had to get out of Socorro. My parents welcomed the two with open arms and, I think, regarded them as adopted kids.
John would borrow my fathers motorcycle and always bring it back with something from the motorcycle in his hand. To watch John present my father with the broken part in such a sheepish manner was an amazing sight. We have lost touch with John. John was a petroleum engineer and, last we knew, was Vice President of a Canadian oil company. Some day, we hope that John will reconnect with us.
What can I say about Ed Sagon. He was, and is, a likable and jovial guy. Ed also tolerated a fair amount of abuse from his friends. The story is told that John once broke a chair over Ed's head, or back, depending on the version of the story. And yet, John ended up being Ed's best man. Speaking of Ed getting married, we still can't understand how he married such a lovely lady as Krista. Ed was also a petroleum engineer, but a free spirit at heart. Currently, Ed is a professional balloon pilot in Colorado. Rumor is that he is making a living at the profession and I know that he is enjoying life. Enjoying life is the thing that Ed continues to demonstrate, giving us all an example of a truly successful life.
While, Rodney's friends are a large part of my memories that are associated with my brother, but I digress.
Rodney's grades, the reputation of New Mexico Tech, the documented proof that he was really interested in medicine and I suppose his charming personality, Rodney was accepted into the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Yes, accepted into med school on the first try! There he studied and struggled and struggled and studied, because the goal of being a doctor was still Rodney's driving force.
My parents and I would ponder what specialty Rodney might choose. Personally, I believe he would have gone into pediatrics. Of the rotations that Rodney went through, his glowed most when he described the kid that finger painted with some readily available material. As Rodney cleaned the munchkin up, he commented to the crying child that he sure knew how to make a mess. And the kid nodded his head and cried, Rodney continued to clean.
Rodney cared for people far more that he would let on. I still remember the day that I was knocked off of my bicycle on the way home from elementary school. When I arrive home, Rodney took off to find the guy with fire in his eye. I think that was the day that I realize my brother actually cared for me, just a little, maybe. A classmate of Rodney's recently contacted me and told me a story that reminded me of just how much he could care and how caring he could be. I thank her for the memory.
From what I have written so far, you might conclude that Rodney was near perfect. Again, the double edged sword. Rodney suffered from the same problem that I do. I was a lousy communicator. When subjects got a little touchy and/or emotionally charged, communication went to a near absolute zero state. Remember the attraction to the same girl thing. That was one of those subjects.
Rodney was also an alcoholic. This seems to be an affliction with some people who work hard and ply hard. I think his addiction to ETOH started in High School. Yes, there were parties were alcohol was consumed at such an early age. However, the major development of the problem occurred while Rodney was at Socorro. This was a time when New Mexico Tech had Sterling Collgate as president, and the school bought the beer for a party each semester. For entertainment there was going into town to watch the movie for the fourth time, getting drunk and going into town to watch the movie for the fourth time, or getting drunk and running around the golf course trying to shoot each other with the sprinklers. All-in-all, not much to do, except drink. Alcoholism was diagnosed while Rodney was in medical school. Rodney was just beginning to accept the fact that he was an alcoholic when he died. This is probably the major reason that I no longer drink. Even in death, Rodney is still advising me to make the correct decision.
Now to end this rather long monologue, I need to say that in the integral, Rodney was a good person. He had a good heart and cared for people. He lived an intense and dedicated life that was far too short, in my opinion. Please remember Rodney Alan Littleton. Enjoy the great memories and learn from the rest.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.