Steven M. Little

Steven M. LittleSteven M. Little, a 44-year Santa Barbara resident and 22-year China Lake employee, died May 20, 2019, of pneumonia following surgery for a broken hip.

Steve began at NOTS in late 1952 as an engineer and advanced to project manager before his retirement in December 1974. You will recognize one of his accomplishments as the ‘glow sticks’ now used commercially but originally a secret project first developed to aid the troops in Viet Nam. He worked on Notsnik, Mighty Mouse, weather modification and other key programs.

Also a retired commander, USNR, Steve served his country 42 years starting during World War II and continuing through Viet Nam. He did two carrier tours as a fighter pilot during the Korean conflict and continued as a reserve Navy pilot until 1964. He was formally retired from the Navy in 1985.

Steve and wife Leah achieved a happy 70 years of marriage — celebrating with family and friends before her death in April 2016. They had two children, Janis and Jeff, four grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

Steve’s recent hobbies included home improvement and avocado farming, as well as bridge, computer tinkering, car rebuilding, airplane restoration, flying, golf and years ago ham radio. He also was a lifelong Mason.

A celebration of his life will be held July 8 at 4 p.m. at the All Saints by the Sea Church in Montecito. If you wish to attend, please email daughter Janis at

— Submitted by the family of Steven Little

Story First Published: 2019-06-21