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Community mourns death of Mike Little, Hall County’s parks director, at 58
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Mike Little, director of Hall County Parks & Leisure Services, died over the weekend of a sudden illness. He was 58.

Mike Little, Hall County Parks & Leisure Services director, died of a sudden illness over the weekend while on vacation in Florida, Assistant County Administrator Marty Nix said Tuesday, June 28.

Little was 58.

His loss has sent shockwaves through the county government and community.

“He was a professional colleague, but more than that, he was a close, personal friend,” said Melvin Cooper, former longtime director of Gainesville Parks and Recreation.

The two had lunch together about once a month and talked about family, Cooper said.

“He loved his job and loved serving Hall County and the community,” he said. “He was a fine, fine, fine man.”

Nix described Little as a leader who wanted to be close to his work, preferring an office in the North Hall Community Center & Park over one in the Hall County Government Center.

“He wanted to be there with the community, with his people,” Nix said. “That’s just how he led. He led, and people followed him. He was constantly around them and constantly giving them support.”

Nix recalled Little taking the job over a decade ago.

At the time, Little was manager of the Allen Creek Soccer Complex and Nix had just been named assistant county administrator.

Nix oversaw Parks & Leisure Services in his new role and was eager for someone else to take on the job full-time. “I came from a law enforcement background. I don’t know anything about parks,” he said.

He approached Little at the soccer complex and recruited him for the job.

Little “smiled and said, ‘Put me in, coach,” Nix said. 

Little was first named interim parks director, instructed “to keep things afloat until we decide how to operate our parks,” he said.

A county government financial crisis at the time had resulted in a slashing of the Parks & Leisure Services budget and closing of some parks.

“He just took off with (the job), and I never touched parks again,” Nix said. “He built Hall County parks from the ground up at that point, and it was just an amazing feat.”

Over time, parks began to reopen, including Murrayville Park in 2021.

Hall County is holding a visitation service for friends and family 4-7 p.m. Friday, July 1, and a memorial service at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 2, at the North Hall Community Center & Park, 4175 Nopone Road.

“It’s just a natural fit that we have (the services) at the place he loved,” Nix said.