Mary Catherine Little

Mary Catherine Little

Mary Catherine (Gardner) Little, age 71, passed away June 12, 2020 after a courageous 16 year battle with metastatic breast cancer.

Mary was born May 25, 1949 in Madison, WI, the fourth of seven children of William and Jane (Liddle) Gardner. Mary attended grade schools in Maple Bluff, WI and Des Moines, IA before her family moved back to Wisconsin where she graduated from Brookfield Central High School in 1967. Mary then attended UW-Platteville where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education to teach English.

Mary also met her future husband, Bob Little, at Platteville and they were married in Madison, WI on August 5, 1972. Mary and Bob lived in Madison until 1978, when they moved to Verona, WI, where they have resided ever since.

Mary was an excellent teacher who taught in the Monona Grove, Madison and Verona School Districts, and retired from teaching in 2005.

Mary enjoyed flower gardening, taking great pride in her perennial garden and hostas, and teaching her daughters and grandchildren how to plant a lovely landscape. She also enjoyed camping, traveling/cruising, hiking in the Rocky Mountains, biking, walking, zumba, cross country skiing/snowshoeing, kayaking (especially in Door County), her book group, crossword puzzles, quilting, and doting over her grandchildren.

Her granddaughters will always remember how “Grandma Mimi” taught them how to somersault, and to hang by their knees on the monkey bars — always the adventurer. Her grandson will remember her love, laughter, and joy in him.

Mary’s favorite trips were to camp in Blue Mound State Park, and Peninsula State Park in Door County with her family and siblings, and later with her daughters and their families. Mary also enjoyed decorating her home for the holiday season each year with the many David Frykman Santa Claus figurines she collected. Mary was an excellent travel planner and navigator. She and Bob travelled together extensively in retirement, enjoying cruises to Alaska, Australia and New Zealand, the Danube River, the Caribbean, Canadian Atlantic Provinces, and both U.S. Coasts. She enjoyed the wonders of trips to Ireland, Costa Rica, the Grand Canyon and other Southwest National Parks, the Canadian Rockies, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park and the Tetons, Acadia National Park, Beaufort, S.C., and Rocky Mountain National Park where she marveled at the bugling of elk and the difficulty in spotting Bighorn sheep and moose. Mary also loved to comb the beaches of Gulf Shores, AL and Fort Meyers Beach, FL.

Mary is survived by Bob, her husband of 47 years; children, Amanda Little (Matthew Kuchta) and Jennifer (Jason) Artz; grandchildren, Linora and Celia Artz, and Finian Kuchta; siblings, Patricia (Richard) Rolwing, Gail (David) Olson, Jane (Jay) Borroughs, William (Jane) Gardner, James (Deborah) Gardner, and Michael (Karen) Gardner; many nieces and nephews, as well as many loving friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, and in-laws Carl and Verla Little.

At Mary’s request, she will be buried at Natural Path Sanctuary in Verona. A celebration of Mary’s life will be considered at a later date. Special thanks to the UW Health Carbone Cancer Center and Agrace Hospice Care for their care and support. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Carbone Center and Agrace, or the charity of your choice. To view and sign this guestbook, please visit:

Thank you, Mary, for sharing everything with us for so many years. We are thankful your pain and suffering have ended. We miss you dearly. We will often think of you and your smile, your wit, your bravery, your touch and your sweetness, and we will love you forever.

Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services

Verona Chapel

220 Enterprise Drive