at Occidental College
C. Scott Littleton 77, a longtime Occidental College anthropology professor and department chairman known for his studies of comparative Indo-European mythology and folklore, Arthurian legends, Japanese culture and in particular the Shinto religion, and unidentified flying objects, died Nov. 25 in Pasadena, his family said. He had pneumonia and had recently undergone heart surgery.
Littleton taught a range of anthropology courses at Occidental from 1962 to 2002 and served as chairman of the sociology and anthropology department in several stints from 1967 to 1994. After the anthropology department split off, he was its chairman from 1995 to 2000.
Covington Scott Littleton was born July 1, 1933, in Los Angeles and grew up in Hermosa Beach. He served in the Army during the Korean War and later enrolled at UCLA. He studied anthropology, earning a bachelor's degree in 1957 and a doctorate in 1965.
On Feb. 25, 1942, when he was 8 and living with his family on the Strand in Hermosa, Littleton was one of many Southland residents who witnessed a mysterious object that he described as "a small, glowing, slightly lozenge-shaped blob light — a single blob" flying in the night sky. Many observers thought it was a Japanese aircraft or a barrage balloon, but no official explanation was ever offered. The experience had a lasting impression on Littleton, who kept an open mind about extraterrestrial life and paranormal activity during his academic career.
"People have been seeing anomalous objects in the sky for millennia, but for the most part they — and their occupants — have been perceived as gods, demons," Littleton said in a 2008 Fort Worth Star Telegram story about UFO sightings over Texas. "Indeed, I suspect that most if not all of our religions evolved to 'explain' these otherwise inexplicable phenomena."
Besides scholarly works, Littleton authored a science fiction novel, "Phase Two," in 2009.
ROBERT H. GRANT
Major home builder
in Orange County
Robert H. Grant, 90, who was a major Orange County home builder from the 1950s to the 1970s, died of complications of Alzheimer's disease Nov. 24 at Silverado Hospice in Irvine, a family spokesman said.
After founding his own company, the Grant Corp., he built more than 18,000 homes. In California, Grant was a primary developer of Anaheim Hills. His company's reach extended to Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii and Florida.
In what was then known as Dairy Valley, Grant was a pioneering home developer in the late 1960s. With another builder, he helped convince the city to change its name to Fountain Valley, according to his family.
Robert Harold Grant was born Oct. 26, 1920, in Wethersfield, Conn., and graduated in 1942 with a degree in electrical engineering from Massachusetts' Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
He worked as an engineer for Boeing before starting the Grant Corp. in 1953. It was acquired in the early 1970s by Santa Anita Consolidated.
A longtime resident of Newport Beach, Grant was a director of Newport National Bank and a trustee of Claremont Graduate School.
During World War II, Grant served in the Navy and was recalled to active duty during the Korean War. The Navy nurtured his love of the sea, his family said, and he became a competitive yachtsman.
With Barbara, his wife of 38 years, he often sailed their yacht, Bobbara.
Times staff reports