William Emmett Little Profile Photo
1957 William 2022

William Emmett Little

November 25, 1957 — November 2, 2022


William Emmett Little, age 64, of Addison, passed away November 2, 2022. Beloved son of the late Robert Emmett and Margaret T., nee Wigton; loving brother of Kathleen (Bob) Holum; dear uncle of Mike (Char) Morris, Patrick (Amanda) Morris and Lindsay (Cory) Kessenich; cherished great uncle of Emmett, Max, Natalie, Sean, Lilly and Abby Morris and Dominic and Mason Kessenich dearest cousin of Marie Brezinski and friend of many.

Billy was a very kind and gentle soul, who lived through some hard times.  He started with AA and found that he could connect with others on their way to a happier life.  He was VERY proud to become a member of ISP (Ignatian Spirituality Project). He volunteered for several years acting as a witness, going on to help facilitate retreats.  He had a way of finding the good in others and would always try to lend a helping hand.  Several of the Jesuit priests he worked with and others from ISP have spoken about Billy in such glowing terms and shared how much he would be missed.

From the viewpoint of an older sister, memories of Billy include watching Billy play baseball, hockey, bowling and softball and the time he stood on the front stoop in his long John's after getting a concussion playing hockey. When their dad took movies of a 2 year old Bill, 4 year old Marie and Kathy, one film with Kathy taking off Bill's cap and throwing it up or down the dirt hill that was their backyard was an early memory of Kathy annoying Billy all the way up until his dying day.  A favorite annoyance Kathy enjoyed inflicting on Billing was telling him that she couldn't find her phone so he would call her to help locate it.  The ringtone of Go Cubs Go would set him on end and he would yell at her to change that ringtone!  Billy will be deeply missed by all, especially his sister Kathy, who loved him with all her heart.

My name is Adam Rosinski. I'm a Jesuit priest and a proud friend of your brother, Billy. I was so very sad to hear about his passing, and I'm very sorry for your loss.
I worked with ISP for a few years (2011-2014) and got to know Billy there. We first met when I was visiting different houses and shelters "recruiting" guys to join us for one of our retreats. Billy and I became friendly right away.

He was so very proud to be part of ISP, and I remember the first time we asked him to give the witness talk on the retreat. He was pretty nervous, so the two of us went to a diner, had some food, and we worked on his talk together. He very much liked to use the analogy of a football game in his talks. He said the best way for a person to deal with addiction recovery or homelessness or even to improve their spiritual lives was to play the "short game." Rather than throwing up Hail Marys and trying to get into the endzone in one play, it's much better to slowly move the ball down the field, yard by yard. It might take longer to reach your goal, but the chances of succeeding are much higher.

Ever since I left Chicago in 2014, Billy and I have kept in touch. Although, admittedly, it was he who kept mostly in touch with me. We'd speak on the phone every month or two. He'd tell me about his health and the challenges he was facing with it. He told me how terribly he missed the ISP retreats during covid. He was very proud (and rightly so) to share how he always tried to be good to people and share the lessons he learned from ISP, even when the retreats weren't happening. He would often ask me to pray for so-and-so, who was in a rough place, and who Billy was trying to help out.

He also spoke often of you and it was clear how much he loved you. Since he and I often talked about sports (I'm from Philadelphia originally and a huge Philly fan), he liked to vent to me about the ways you liked to torture him about the Cubs, especially when they won in 2016! It always made me laugh.  In fact, Billy called me just on October 25. I couldn't get to the phone, but he left me a voicemail congratulating me on the Phillies making it to the World Series. I'm sad I wasn't able to answer when he called.

While ISP certainly had a huge impact on Billy, I hope you realize how much an impact he made on that program, and how beloved he was there. A quick story to share with you:
There was a retreat scheduled for some time in September, I think, and Billy was set to go and give the witness talk. However, he was dealing with his breathing issues at the time, and it was taking him a very long time to get up and going in the morning. He was absolutely terrified that this would keep him from attending the retreat, since the retreat days begin pretty early. He told me that he called the retreat leader and shared that he didn't think he could attend the retreat because of his health. The leader paused on the phone and then told Billy that he should absolutely still come on the retreat, and that they would adjust the schedule to accommodate him. They would even send someone to pick him up later in the morning, so he wouldn't have to be in the early carpool.

Billy was absolutely over the moon when he heard this. He couldn't believe that ISP would do something like this for him...but it didn't surprise me at all. Billy added so much to the retreats he was on, and he had a way of reaching people right where they needed to be reached.

Kathy, please know that I will remember Billy and you at the altar when I celebrate Mass. Also, I currently live and work with our novices (brand new Jesuits). I shared with them that my friend Billy had died and a number of them promised that they would be praying for him, too. So, there are lots of prayers for you and Billy coming from Syracuse, NY these days...and I know that we are just a small sampling of all the prayers being offered right now.

Again, Kathy, you are in my prayers these days. Thanks for the honor of being able to call your brother my friend.


Friends and family will meet at the office at All Saints Cemetery, 700 N. River Rd., Des Plaines at 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, November 12th for a Graveside Service at 12:00 Noon.

A Reception and Celebration of Life will follow from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at VFW2149, 510 Georgetown Square, Wood Dale.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Ignatian Spirituality Project , 205 W. Monroe Street, Suite 317, Chicago, IL 60606.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William Emmett Little, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Starts at 12:00 pm (Central time)

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Saturday, November 12, 2022

1:30 - 5:00 pm (Central time)

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