Anna Ruth Sanders Little

Published 3:50 pm Thursday, April 20, 2023

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KINGSPORT – Anna Ruth Sanders Little passed away early Tuesday morning, April 18, 2023, following a brief illness. A Kingsport native, she was born at Holston Valley on March 5, 1935 to Clarence Bascom Sanders and Edna Lawson Sanders.
She is survived by her daughters, Andrea (Butch) Edmondson and Pam Cox (Keith Wilson): grandchildren, Lee and Max Edmondson and Jessica Cox Osborne (Patrick); bonus grandchildren, Carolyn Wilson (Vance Fraley) and Doug (Kate) Wilson; great-grandchildren, Marilyn Ruth and Louis Osborne; bonus great-grandchildren, Tate and Logan Fraley, Emery and Gill Wilson; sisters, Betty Sproles and Patsy (Sammy) Clonce; and sisters-in-law, Pat Baxter and Pat Little.
She was preceded in death by her husband and life partner of 60 plus years, John Thomas Little Jr. Also preceding her in death were her parents; her mother-in-law and father-in-law, Leona Fleenor Little and John Thomas Little Sr.; sister and brothers-in-law, Howard and Vi Little, Lily and Eddie Hash, Glen Sproles, Jack Little, Doug Moles and Jim Baxter; niece, Terry Redmond; and great-niece, Ashley Skelton.
As everyone’s favorite aunt, the family would be remiss not to mention her surviving nieces and nephews who thought she was the “bee’s knees” – Robbin Metcalf, Chavela (Joe) Gragg, Randy (Amy) Little, Jeff Little, Chuck Little, Sherry Short, Lisa Roland, Jan Crockett, Johnny Baxter, and Mike, Johnny and Sharla Hash.
Anna Ruth graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School. She fell in love with John her senior year and married him almost immediately following graduation. When John joined the Army and was stationed in Anchorage, Alaska, she followed, and there, they met their life-long friends, Johnny and Mary Jane Bobbitt.
Once they returned to Kingsport, Anna Ruth worked in retail at J. Fred Johnson, then Miller’s and finally retiring from Parks-Belk. She and John were fans of dancing and also avid antique collectors and opened up an antique shop in downtown Kingsport in the early ’70s.
Anna Ruth was known for her style, not only in her personal attire, but in her innate ability to decorate. It was said, “she could turn a sou’s ear into a silk purse.” Along with these qualities, she was a natural-born storyteller and loved to share stories, particularly about visiting her father’s homeplace in Scott County, Va. She spent the last few days of her life recounting all the fun times spent with her sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents in Slant, Va.
Her family will miss her forever, and we believe her wish would be to “share her stories.”
Funeral services will be held Monday, April 24, at 11 a.m. at Calvary Baptist Church, 1238 Pine Street, Kingsport, with Pastor Dennis Wilson officiating. The family thanks Mike Cawood of Calvary Baptist Church for being at Anna Ruth’s bedside. The family will receive friends at the church prior to the service at 10 a.m. Interment will follow the service at 2 p.m., where she will be laid to rest with her beloved John at Mountain Home National Cemetery, 53 Memorial Avenue, Mountain Home, Tennessee (Johnson City) at 2 p.m. Pallbearers will be Lee and Max Edmondson, Keith Wilson, Joe Gragg, family and friends. In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be made to the Scott County Animal Shelter, 186 Single Tree Road, Gate City, VA 24251 in memory of Anna Ruth Little and all the animals she loved and rescued over the years. Condolences may be sent to the Little family online at
Dillow-Taylor Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Jonesborough, TN (423) 753-3821.

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