Obituary: William Norris Little Sr., Shaw Industries

William Norris LittleWilliam Norris Little Sr., retired president/COO of Shaw Industries, passed away on Oct. 1, 2022 at the age of 91.

Norris was born June 28, 1931 in Marshville, NC He attended the University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill and graduated from Georgia State College in Atlanta with a degree in business. He married his wife, Billie M. Little (Mancin) in 1953.

The care and thoughtfulness with which Little dealt with people was inspiring. His personal warmth and genuine interest in people just made you want to be around him. Even as he was advancing his career in local industry where he rose to the pinnacle of Shaw Industries, Norris believed in teamwork and in getting to know the people he worked with. No one worked “for” him, he liked to say. They worked “with” him. “People have so much you can learn from,” he said.

When Norris spoke to a senior leadership class at Dalton State College several years ago, he shared lessons that he had always sought with the live by:

  • “Put God above all things, then put your family first. No one on his death bed ever wished he had spent more time at the office.”
  • “Always ask yourself if what you’re doing is the right thing to do.”
  • “Failure is not bad. You learn from it. Try things—without trying you’ll never know what works.”
  • “Giving your best doesn’t cost any more than just doing enough to get by.”
  • “Invest in your community. Community involvement is important for building a better place for your family.”

During six decades—nearly two thirds of his life—Norris invested generously in his community as a board member, board chairman, strategic advisor, philanthropist and cheerleader for many non-profits, including Boy Scouts of America, Carpet and Rug Institute, Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia, Covenant College Foundation, Creative Arts Guild, Dalton State College Foundation, Friendship House, Great Dalton Chamber of Commerce, Hamilton Medical Center, Junior Achievement of Northwest Georgia, Salvation Army and United Way of Northwest Georgia. He ran for public office and was elected as Alderman and served on the Dalton City Council in the 1980s. He was a leader in his church and his Christ-centered faith guided him in all his endeavors—personal, business and volunteer. He once said his community volunteer work “took a lot of time but that is where wanted to spend our time. It was not easy but it was one of the happiest things we ever did.”

Norris survived by his wife, Billie M. Little (Mancin); children W. Norris Little, Jr., (Francie), J. Alan Little (Cindy), Laurie L. Lokey (Bill); grandchildren, William N. Little Jr., (Sims), Mark J. Little (Kaila), Stephanie K. Fennema (Mike), Brittany K. Same (Isaiah); his great grandchildren, Jack Halferty, Stella Halferty, Scarlett Halferty, Lucy Halferty, Lia Little, Lexie Little, Hayden Little, Emery Little, Brooklyn Little, Elliot Fennema, Oliver Fennema, Mattie Grace Gennema, Abigail Fennema, Isaac Fennema, Liam Same and Ellison Same; his sister Sandra Lear; his sister-in-law Mary M. Jones; and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents Ollie Meggs Little and Silas Judson Little his brothers and sisters Bessie L. Hill, Lexie L. Hill, Silas Judson Little Jr., and Claire Little; his mother-in-law and father-in-law, John and Billie Mancin; and his brother-in-law, John Albert Mancin, Jr.

A funeral is scheduled for 3 pm Wednesday, Oct. 5 at Christ Church Presbyterian in the sanctuary. Visitation will be from 12-3 pm, in the fellowship hall at the same location. A graveside service will follow the funeral at West Hill Cemetery.

All are welcome to attend the worship service and celebrate Norris’s life. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to ChristChurch Presbyterian at 510 S. Tibbs Road, Dalton, Ga., 30720.

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