David Little of Denver transitioned peacefully on Jan. 12, 2020, with his soul continuing its journey into the Great Beyond. Holding his hands were his beloved wife Lisa Curtis and lifelong best friend David Franklin of Aspen.
Waiting for him on the other side were his family and friends, and his cherished Springer Spaniels, Clod, George and Frazier.
David lived a full and adventurous life, while at the same time experiencing and overcoming numerous health challenges. In the end, his loving and generous heart simply wore out due to congestive heart failure.
David was one of the first kidney transplant patients in the world, when in 1971 at 17-years-old, he was transplanted by Dr. Thomas E. Starzl, the “father of modern transplantation” at Children’s Hospital. That kidney lasted just five days, and David spent the next five months undergoing dialysis and massive doses of prednisone at University Hospital. Subsequently, he was successfully transplanted by Dr. Starzl and this new kidney lasted 39 years.
His last kidney was donated in 2011 by his good friend Bruce McCormack of Cody.
David endured over 60 surgeries in his life, primarily due to steroid arthropathy from anti-rejection medication. This did not stop him from having an adventurously rich life full of dear friends from all over the country. He was a world traveler, ski racer, avid motorcyclist and treasured the mountains of Colorado, Montana and Wyoming where he hiked, camped, fished and hunted. David was also a passionate antique and vintage western collector and purveyor.
David was born Jan. 12, 1953, in Bismarck, N.D., to Bill and Polly Little. Bill, a petroleum geologist, moved the family in 1958 to a new community of Mid-Century ranch homes in Littleton (now Centennial) when Arapahoe Road was still dirt and the land to the south and west along the Highline Canal was prairie.
His parents separated when David was 10 years old, and soon after, his 18-year-old brother Harry, committed suicide due to numerous emotional issues. His mother went on to found Polly Little Realty, a successful company of mostly women brokers.
David attended Littleton High School, a Semester-at-Sea on World Campus Afloat traveling to over 15 countries, Arapahoe Community College and the University of Montana in Missoula where he received a BA in Journalism.
After working for a ranching and logging newspaper in Kalispell, he became the Director of Communications for Montana Power Company in Butte. He returned to the University of Montana as Communications Director and successfully oversaw the development and naming of Washington Grizzly Stadium. From there, David became the Director of Public Relations for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center (now Buffalo Bill Center for the West) in Cody.
When he needed yet more prosthetic knee revisions, he came back to Denver. He held the position of Communications Director for Public Works as a special assistant to Mayor Federico Pená, then Director of Public Relations for Woodward-Clyde.
To fulfill his joint passion for vintage collectibles and writing, David wrote the book “Vintage Denim,” with photos by his good friend Larry Bond. The book became a classic collectible, especially in Los Angeles and Japan.
In his later years, David used his extensive knowledge of antiques and collectibles to provide estate sale services with his firm Prairie Estate Sales.
In addition to his wife of 14 years, Lisa Curtis, David is survived by his sister, Cat Little of Las Vegas, and his large circle of friends.
David will be remembered for his sense of humor, easy-going and fun spirit, and his innate ability to always look on the bright side of life.
Donations in memory of David may be made to the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, Forbes Tower, Suite 8084, 3600 Forbes Avenue at Meyran Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Mile Hi Church in Lakewood, Colo., at a later date.