Dr. Thomas Wentworth Littlefield, of Traverse City, Michigan, passed away peacefully on June 4, 2020 in the Villages, FL, at the age of 79.
He was born to Elinor and Ernest Littlefield on August 30, 1940, in Detroit, MI.
Tom was a life-long scholar who graduated with honors in 1958 from the University Of Detroit Jesuit High School; in1962 from the University of Notre Dame with a BS; and Magna Cum Laude in 1965 from the University of Detroit School of Dentistry (D.D.S.). He earned his Masters of Science in Periodontics from the University of Michigan in 1971, He was a member of Grand Master Delta Sigma Delta (a dental fraternity) and honorary fraternities: Omicron Kappa Upsilon, Blue Key, Alpha Sigma Nu, and Dental Service Jesuit. Throughout his life, Tom always sought to learn new things. He took great pride in winning trivia contests and being the first to know the final Jeopardy question, always encouraging those around him to pursue knowledge and view the world in the same curious, wide-eyed way.
He was an avid traveler and loved to explore new areas and meet new people. This spirit led him to move with his wife Pat Littlefield and their small children from Livonia to Traverse City in 1971. They raised their five children on the idyllic Old Mission Peninsula enjoying the beauty of the Lakes and all that Northern Michigan has to offer.
Service was a theme throughout his life. He honorably served his country as a lieutenant in the United States Navy Dental Corps active duty on a sub-base (New London, Conn.) from 1965 to 1967. He was the first person to practice periodontics in Northern Michigan and served his clients with professionalism and compassion for many years, inspiring three of his children to practice medicine. He volunteered on the Michigan Periodontal state examination board for 6 years and as the specialty State Peer Review Chairman for 6 years. After he retired he volunteered for 5 weeks per year for 11 years, providing dentistry at St Jude Hospital Vieux Fort, St Lucia, British West Indies and for two years with the Community Medical Care Center Dental Department in Leesburg, FL.
His Catholic faith was also an important part of his life and shaped his values and choices throughout. He belonged to St. Joseph Catholic Church (Mapleton), Christ the King Catholic Church, and was a founding parishioner at Christ the King Catholic Church.
He was an avid sports fan and a passionate coach, loving golf, baseball, skiing, and fishing, all of which he shared with his children and grandchildren. Tom found great joy in traveling the world. His most recent trip found him in France and the beaches of Normandy. He- also loved to listen to musical theater, boat, and spend time with his family. He greatly enjoyed loudly cheering on his kids and grandkids at their sporting events, coaching fervently from the stands at every game he could attend. He would watch every musical and play his kids were in, seeing shows over and over with greater enthusiasm each time.
He spent the last 16 years with his loving partner Pat DeYoung. He found great joy with her and their families together. They lived part time at their home in The Villages, FL where they loved the community and golfing. In addition, they took many fabulous vacations, enjoying the adventure of traveling together.
Tom is survived by his children Susan (Bill) Dungjen, Jennifer Littlefield (Dr. Peter Wilkinson), Dr. Leslie (James Brewer) Littlefield, Sarah (Andrew) Shotwell, Dr. Thomas (Rachel Betzen) Littlefield; grandchildren, Jeremiah, Zinnia, Maya, Cecilia, Ben, Nate, Amelia, Ava, Vivian, Zoe and Simon; and his significant other Pat DeYoung.
In addition to his own children and grandchildren, Tom left behind: Douglas (Maureen) DeYoung, Katherine, Molly; Dawn DeYoung Gildersleeve, Tyler, Megan; Daryl (Kim) DeYoung, Aidan, Alec; Dana (Paul) DeYoung Amstadt and many other loving family members and friends who will miss him very much.
Those wishing an expression of sympathy may choose to do so to the Father Fred Foundation, the Detroit Jesuit High School or the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy in Tom’s honor.
Services honoring Tom’s life will take place on July 10. Please RSVP at [email protected] so that we can keep you updated on information.