News

Military tank collector Jacques Littlefield dies

He was a longtime resident of Portola Valley, member of Palo Alto-based MOAH

Jacques Mequet Littlefield, who assembled one of the largest private collections of military vehicles in the world and championed open space on the Midpeninsula, died Jan. 7 in Portola Valley. Littlefield was 59 and had battled cancer for the past decade.

Littlefield's fascination with armored vehicles began in his childhood when he started building plastic models of tanks. While in college, he built his first scale model, radio-controlled tank. He acquired his first full-sized vehicle in 1975.

In 1998 he set up the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation to manage his collection of more than 150 vehicles and restore new additions. The collection ranges from a World War II-era U.S. Army M3A1 wheeled scout car, his first acquisition, to a Soviet-era Scud missile launcher. It includes famous tanks such as the U.S. Sherman and Patton class; the U.K. Centurion, Conqueror and Chieftain; German World War II vehicles, including a Panther; and Soviet-era Russian tanks.

Littlefield was a member of the Palo Alto-based Museum of American Heritage (MOAH) Advisory Board since 1991. He hosted two major fundraisers at his military museums, one with the theme of "Tanks for the Memories."

"The history of armored vehicles is more complete due to his research and preservation of one of the country's largest private collections of tanks and other military vehicles," according to Gwenyth Claughton of MOAH.

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He was considered a scholar and expert on the history of armored warfare, and the foundation helps serve the interests of authors, historians, educators, the defense industry, veterans groups, model makers and the entertainment industry, say family members.

Littlefield's collection is housed at Pony Tracks Ranch in the hills above Portola Valley. Pony Tracks was the country estate of former San Francisco mayor and California governor James "Sunny Jim" Rolph Jr. Over the years, Littlefield restored many of the old buildings on the ranch, helping maintain open space in the hills above Portola Valley.

The son of the late Edmund Wattis Littlefield and Jeannik Mequet Littlefield, he was born in San Francisco in 1949. His father was CEO of Utah International. His mother is a strong supporter of the arts and a member of the Chairman's Council of the San Francisco Opera.

Growing up in Burlingame, Littlefield attended Cate School in Carpinteria before studying at Stanford University, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1971 and an MBA two years later. He worked for Hewlett Packard as a manufacturing engineer before focusing solely on building his museum and restoration facility.

A man of many interests, Littlefield was an organist who studied under Stanford University organist Professor Herbert Nanney. A large (45-stop) Fisk organ is housed in a custom-built hall attached to the Littlefield home.

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He was also a steam railroad fan, and had rail lines for a large-scale model railroad installed at his 470-acre ranch.

Littlefield served on the boards of the George S. Patton Museum in Fort Knox, Kentucky, Cate School, Coyote Point Museum for Environmental Education, the Hoover Institution, California Academy of Sciences, and Filoli Center. He was a member of the Bohemian Club and captain of the Sempervirens Camp.

Surviving Littlefield are his wife, Sandy Montenegro Littlefield; his five children, David, Scott, Allison, Jacques Jr. and Jeannik; his mother, Jeannik Mequet Littlefield; brother Edmund Littlefield Jr. and sister Denise Littlefield Sobel; and one grandson.

A public memorial service will be scheduled for the near future. Memorials may be made to one of the organizations Littlefield supported: The Patton Museum, Cate School, Coyote Point Museum for Environmental Education, California Academy of Sciences, the Hoover Institution, or the Filoli Center.

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Military tank collector Jacques Littlefield dies

He was a longtime resident of Portola Valley, member of Palo Alto-based MOAH

Uploaded: Thu, Jan 15, 2009, 12:34 pm

Jacques Mequet Littlefield, who assembled one of the largest private collections of military vehicles in the world and championed open space on the Midpeninsula, died Jan. 7 in Portola Valley. Littlefield was 59 and had battled cancer for the past decade.

Littlefield's fascination with armored vehicles began in his childhood when he started building plastic models of tanks. While in college, he built his first scale model, radio-controlled tank. He acquired his first full-sized vehicle in 1975.

In 1998 he set up the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation to manage his collection of more than 150 vehicles and restore new additions. The collection ranges from a World War II-era U.S. Army M3A1 wheeled scout car, his first acquisition, to a Soviet-era Scud missile launcher. It includes famous tanks such as the U.S. Sherman and Patton class; the U.K. Centurion, Conqueror and Chieftain; German World War II vehicles, including a Panther; and Soviet-era Russian tanks.

Littlefield was a member of the Palo Alto-based Museum of American Heritage (MOAH) Advisory Board since 1991. He hosted two major fundraisers at his military museums, one with the theme of "Tanks for the Memories."

"The history of armored vehicles is more complete due to his research and preservation of one of the country's largest private collections of tanks and other military vehicles," according to Gwenyth Claughton of MOAH.

He was considered a scholar and expert on the history of armored warfare, and the foundation helps serve the interests of authors, historians, educators, the defense industry, veterans groups, model makers and the entertainment industry, say family members.

Littlefield's collection is housed at Pony Tracks Ranch in the hills above Portola Valley. Pony Tracks was the country estate of former San Francisco mayor and California governor James "Sunny Jim" Rolph Jr. Over the years, Littlefield restored many of the old buildings on the ranch, helping maintain open space in the hills above Portola Valley.

The son of the late Edmund Wattis Littlefield and Jeannik Mequet Littlefield, he was born in San Francisco in 1949. His father was CEO of Utah International. His mother is a strong supporter of the arts and a member of the Chairman's Council of the San Francisco Opera.

Growing up in Burlingame, Littlefield attended Cate School in Carpinteria before studying at Stanford University, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1971 and an MBA two years later. He worked for Hewlett Packard as a manufacturing engineer before focusing solely on building his museum and restoration facility.

A man of many interests, Littlefield was an organist who studied under Stanford University organist Professor Herbert Nanney. A large (45-stop) Fisk organ is housed in a custom-built hall attached to the Littlefield home.

He was also a steam railroad fan, and had rail lines for a large-scale model railroad installed at his 470-acre ranch.

Littlefield served on the boards of the George S. Patton Museum in Fort Knox, Kentucky, Cate School, Coyote Point Museum for Environmental Education, the Hoover Institution, California Academy of Sciences, and Filoli Center. He was a member of the Bohemian Club and captain of the Sempervirens Camp.

Surviving Littlefield are his wife, Sandy Montenegro Littlefield; his five children, David, Scott, Allison, Jacques Jr. and Jeannik; his mother, Jeannik Mequet Littlefield; brother Edmund Littlefield Jr. and sister Denise Littlefield Sobel; and one grandson.

A public memorial service will be scheduled for the near future. Memorials may be made to one of the organizations Littlefield supported: The Patton Museum, Cate School, Coyote Point Museum for Environmental Education, California Academy of Sciences, the Hoover Institution, or the Filoli Center.

Comments

Citizen
Midtown
on Jan 15, 2009 at 1:49 pm
Citizen, Midtown
on Jan 15, 2009 at 1:49 pm

It appears that he has died with the most toys and will be declared the winner.


Michael
Stanford
on Jan 15, 2009 at 4:27 pm
Michael, Stanford
on Jan 15, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Jacque was a great asset to the community, to the art of military vehicle restoration and to the world of music. His efforts to assist fellows at Stanford, Palo Alto and the general well being of the Bay Area are missed.


Hulkamania
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 15, 2009 at 4:31 pm
Hulkamania, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 15, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Did he ever get the Scud missile that US Customs determined was still in working order?


Walter_E_Wallis
Registered user
Midtown
on Jan 16, 2009 at 12:48 am
Walter_E_Wallis, Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 16, 2009 at 12:48 am

I drove the M4A3 and the M26. Was never any good at either and was glad of it. They violate my battlefield philosophy of never appearing important enough to merit a fire mission. I did appreciate the 5th Cav tanks that broke our encirclement at Chipyongni.


JustMe
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 16, 2009 at 9:56 am
JustMe, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 16, 2009 at 9:56 am

Is this collection open to the public? Should it be? It would make a fabulous museum.


Dean
Midtown
on Jan 16, 2009 at 10:33 am
Dean, Midtown
on Jan 16, 2009 at 10:33 am

Jacques Littlefield was a very generous man. He gave tours of his collection to any group interested. For example, he donated a tour for our elementary school auction this year, which was a big hit. He didn't run the tour itself that day, another military historian did, but when I wrote to thank him for the tour (this was in October), he apologized for not meeting with us personally.

Mr. Littlefield will be missed.

I believe the goal of his foundation is to move the collection at some time to a place that would be open to the public, but I don't know the specific plans about that.


Walter_E_Wallis
Registered user
Midtown
on Jan 16, 2009 at 12:12 pm
Walter_E_Wallis, Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 16, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Hangar One might be a nice location.


MR. IRONIC
East Palo Alto
on Jan 16, 2009 at 3:48 pm
MR. IRONIC, East Palo Alto
on Jan 16, 2009 at 3:48 pm

HE WAS A GOOD MAN I WAS FRIENDS WITH HIS KIDS AND VISITED THE HOUSE OFTEN. RIP TO THE MAN. MY HEART GOES TO THE LITTLEFIELDS THEY ARE VERY GOOD PEOPLE.


jb
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 16, 2009 at 4:45 pm
jb, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 16, 2009 at 4:45 pm

I think he also had (or acquired) a permit to drive one of the tanks for several 4th of July parades in Redwood City. That must have been exciting.

Mr. Littlefield also had a small chapel with organ in his home. He allowed the Peninsula Women's Chorus to take retreat on his property once, using the chapel for the extended rehearsal of that retreat day.


Floyd Kessler
Green Acres
on Jan 17, 2009 at 10:46 am
Floyd Kessler, Green Acres
on Jan 17, 2009 at 10:46 am

Greenacres 1
I had the opportunity to see this fabulous collection and to meet Mr. Littlefield on the tour a few years ago. A kind and gentle man to my observation. I have photos of him and the collection.
Very sad.


Better to end war
another community
on Jan 17, 2009 at 11:14 am
Better to end war, another community
on Jan 17, 2009 at 11:14 am

Men who spend so much time and money honoring war and its toys are, to me, a strange breed.
I would be more impressed if as a result of their horrific experiences they worked to end war.


Tim
Crescent Park
on Jan 17, 2009 at 12:01 pm
Tim, Crescent Park
on Jan 17, 2009 at 12:01 pm

To Better to end war,

Because of those that fight for our freedom, you are able to express yourself. Why do people visit the death camps in Germany- to remember and understand the past.
Mr. Littlefield was a great guy and his collection is one of the best in the world. I hope that the family finds a place where everyone can enjoy it for what it is- history of our past, like it or not.


Kevin
Ventura
on Jan 17, 2009 at 3:59 pm
Kevin, Ventura
on Jan 17, 2009 at 3:59 pm

I went on a tour of the many buildings and vehicles he had stored there, all restored to almost perfection.

He was actually doing his part to reduce war by taking all these WMD's and keeping them out of the hands of those who might use them.

Really tho, its just a collection and an impressive one.

As I said at the time I saw them, "I want to be on his side".

As you read from the original article, he was a man of many interests but it seems humanity was the most important.


Clay
another community
on Jan 21, 2009 at 1:07 pm
Clay, another community
on Jan 21, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Peaceniks like "Better to End War" generally seem to forgot the (accurate) old adage; "to forget history is to repeat history". Collections of historical significance can teach us a LOT about where we are and where we were....and how to separate the two with the distance of time.


Liz Ditz
Woodside
on Jan 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm
Liz Ditz, Woodside
on Jan 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Jacques Littlefield's Memorial Service Monday, March 2, 4 pm


The family very much would like anyone who was touched by Jacques' life and work to attend the service. Please feel free to share this information with your friends and anyone else who may be interested in attending.

The service will take place in Memorial Church, Stanford University. There will be a reception on campus following the service.

Dave Harrah, Jacques' friend since high school, will speak about Jacques' life up until Stanford. Jim Adams, emeritus professor of mechanical engineering, will speak about Jacques as a collector, scholar, and engineer. Jacques' five children will speak about Jacques as a father.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation (MVTF), P.O. Box 7390 Menlo Park CA 94026, email [email protected], or one of the other organizations Jacques supported: The Patton Museum, Cate School, the Coyote Point Museum for Environmental Education, the California Academy of Sciences, the Hoover Institution or the Filoli Center.

==========
Liz Ditz
Outreach Director, Military Vehicle Technology Foundation (MVTF)

MVTF website:
Web Link

MVTF mailing address:
P.O. Box 7390
Menlo Park, CA 94026

MVTF email:
[email protected]


Christopher
another community
on Mar 29, 2010 at 2:52 pm
Christopher, another community
on Mar 29, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Another "good news" addition to these comments is that an aquaintence of mine was arriving from Australia , Oct. '09, to make a pilgrimage to The RESOLUTION in the hills near Pony Tracks (see 'flightofhteresolution.org)...and wanting to make his somber trip as pleasant as I could, amoungst other diversions, I contacted the foundation and was awarded a personal tour, led by well known Michael Green...my new friend Chips Tischler was truly taken aback with such personal treatment to such a prestige site...a tour that he & I will never ever forget !
Other good contact with the family was with Jacques' mother...she being a retail customer of mine for many years on the Peninsula. A grand Dame and mother of a son who is saluted and missed !


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