Chicago FD historian and retired senior fire alarm operator Ken Little passed away this week. Ken was well known for his co-authoring of four volumes of the history of Chicago firehouses with Father John McNalis and conducting bus tours highlighting Chicago Fire Department historical events.

Kenneth F. Little retired Senior Fire Alarm Operator for the Chicago Fire Department. Beloved husband of the late Alice nee Bychowski . Loving father of Kenneth, Robert (Kimberlee), Stephen C.F.D (Rhonda), Philip (Lee), Richard, Raymond Mary Ellen (Steve) Cooper, Anna (Ron) Stargardt, Rita (Rich) Carlson, and the late Thomas. Proud grandfather of Timothy, Christine, Kevin , and Jenna. Dear brother of the late Robert. Fond uncle of many nieces and nephews. Visitation Monday, December 11 from 3 pm to 9 pm at Cumberland Chapels 8300 W Lawrence Ave, Norridge. Friends and Family are asked to meet Tuesday at 10:15 am at St Michael Church 1633 N Cleveland Ave Chicago for 10:30 am mass of Christian Burial. Interment will take place privately Wednesday at All Saints Cemetery. Ken was a longtime teacher of Chicago History at Wright Jr. College. In lieu of flowers donations to the Fire Museum of Greater Chicago, 517 Senon Dr. Lemont, Illinois 60439 – 4093 would be appreciated Info (708) 456-8300 or www.

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The Chicago Fire Department’s historian — retired Senior Fire Alarm Operator Kenneth Little — has died at the age of 84.

Fire Department Chaplain Father John McNalis says phone conversations with Ken Little would often start with a question from Little:

“‘Do you have a minute?’

“And if you said yes, the next time you looked at the clock, it could be anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes later. And he just talked, and you’d go, ‘I can’t remember what we started with.’”

Father McNalis worked with Ken Little to produce four volumes of the history of Chicago firehouses. The job took 16 years.

“He never forgot anything.  He knew all of the details and could rattle off names and times and companies that responded, where he was when the call came in.”

McNalis says Little grew up in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood. His funeral Mass will be at St. Michael’s.


Video of Ken at work at the old Main Fire Alarm Office at beginning of this video for the first 16 seconds