Music 27

Ruth Riks Little

October 23, 1925 ~ March 14, 2021 (age 95)


Old Sparta

Mrs. Ruth Wilhelmina Riks Little passed away peacefully at her home in Old Sparta, North Carolina on March 14, 2021. She was 95.  Born and raised in Michigan City, Indiana, she was the daughter of German immigrants Leopold and Olga Riks. She was preceded in death by her parents and her sisters June, Florence, Dorothy, brother Alvin and husband, Clifton. She is survived by her 3 children, David, Bonnie and Clifton, Jr. Her grandchildren are Valerie, Evan and Marley Johnson, Tripp and Zoe Little and Hamish and Emily Little Oudney. Her great grandchildren are Jack, Luke, Amy and Mia Oudney of Brisbane, Australia.  She is survived by many other relatives including nephews Donald Demuth of Old Sparta, N.C., and Danny Kriesel of Portage, Indiana. She is also survived by her sister-in-law Nancy Morgan of Arkansas.

Funeral service will be held at 2:00 PM on Thursday, March 18, 2021 at Carlisle Funeral Home with the Reverend Stump Cale officiating. Due to weather conditions, the family will hold a private burial at a later time.

Mrs. Little was born in Michigan City, Indiana in 1925. She graduated from Elston High School, then attended Upper Iowa University, Elmhurst College, Syracuse University, the American Conservatory of Music, and graduated from the Chicago Conservatory of Music with a BA in Music in 1949. She started taking piano lessons when she was 6 years old.  Active in the church where-ever she lived, she was the regular church pianist at Edgewood Baptist Church for 15 years.

She entered the U.S. Air Force and served as a chaplain’s assistant at Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, South Dakota, regularly playing the piano and organ for both Catholic and Protestant services. There, she also met and married Clifton Little.  Married for 49 years, he preceded her in death 19 years ago. As the wife of a career military man, she lived for years in Okinawa, Japan and multiple states in the continental USA, always playing for the church where she lived, including Tokyo Baptist Church, and regularly for the chapel in Green Park, where she and her family lived for 4 years. Mrs. Little also taught piano where-ever she lived, influencing and leaving behind hundreds of students and piano musicians across the country.

Mrs. Little learned to drive in a model T Ford, taught by her brother. She got her first driver’s license many years later in South Dakota. Walking into the licensing office, she requested a driver’s license and was told it would cost 50 cents. She paid the money and received her license, no written or driving test required.

The family will receive friends from 6:00-8:00 PM on Wednesday, March 17 at Carlisle Funeral Home.

Arrangements are by Carlisle Funeral Home, Inc. of Tarboro. Online condolences may be directed to the family by visiting

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ruth Riks Little, please visit our floral store.


March 17, 2021

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Carlisle Funeral Home
701 Hospital Drive
Tarboro, NC 27886

Funeral Service
March 18, 2021

2:00 PM
Carlisle Funeral Home
701 Hospital Drive
Tarboro, NC 27886

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