Cover photo for Mary Jane (Kennedy) Littleton's Obituary
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1928 Mary Jane (Kennedy) Littleton 2024

Mary Jane (Kennedy) Littleton

June 7, 1928 — March 23, 2024


Mary Jane (Kennedy) Littleton passed away peacefully at her home on March 23, 2024. She was born June 7, 1928 in Detroit, Michigan to William Radford (Jack) Kennedy and Mary Ruth Beale Kennedy. She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, Jack Beale Kennedy, and a son, Paul Radford Littleton (1955-1956). 


After living in Detroit during the Great Depression, the family returned to Murray where Mary Jane attended the Murray Training School and Murray High School. She graduated from Murray State College/University (MSU) in 1950 with a BS in Chemistry, and completed her Master of Arts in Education in 1955. Her first teaching position was in chemistry at Murray High School. 


Mary Jane left teaching in the 1960s to lend her creative skills to renovating Littleton’s Department Store on the Murray court square into “The Happy Yellow Store,” a family owned business managed by her then husband, Joe Baker Littleton. She returned to teaching in 1971 at Murray Middle School, where she taught earth science, and after additional training (Rank I), served as the school counselor at Murray Middle School. She retired from the Murray Independent School District in 1993.


Ms. Littleton was always active in local, state and national politics. She served as Chair of the Calloway County Democratic Party; was a democratic delegate at the historic Chicago Democratic Convention in 1968; and attended the National Organization for Women’s (NOW) 1977 conference in Houston, Texas, focused on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and an inclusive “Bill of Rights.” Mary Jane served on the Prichard Committee, a Kentucky educational advocacy organization, and was honored for her work and commitment to education by being named a Lifetime Member of the organization.


During retirement she explored creative work in ceramics, exhibiting her hand-built pottery locally and regionally. Mary Jane loved to travel, especially with the Kentucky Institute for International Studies (KIIS), as well as with friends and family. She was an avid gardener and antiquer who created a home that reflected her refined, artistic style. 


She is survived by her children, Joseph Andrew (Andy) Littleton, Nashville, Tn.,  and Mary Ann Littleton, Unicoi County, Tn. / Calloway County, Ky., and granddaughter, Madeline (Pooh) Beale Littleton, Knoxville, Tn. She leaves behind a large extended family of cousins, nephews, nieces, close friends, and a community she cared deeply about.


Ms. Littleton was a supporter of the Murray Art Guild (MAG) and asked that monetary memorials be made to MAG in her honor, Murray Art Guild, 500 North 4th Street, Murray, Kentucky 42071,


A Life Celebration will be held at a later date.


Online condolences can be made at, 


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Jane (Kennedy) Littleton, please visit our flower store.


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