Jim Lyttle

Click on any TITLE
to learn more.


William van Druten (affectionately referred to as "Dr. Bill") is a psychiatrist in Duluth, MN.  He was raised as an atheist and often treated people recovering from various forms of abuse by the church and/or its leaders.  In 1997, the Catholic Church took over his health clinic and asked him to sign a statement that he would treat clients according to the tenets of that faith.  Instead, he founded Lake Superior Freethinkers: a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.  It serves as a friendship and educational group for non-theists that sued to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the grounds of the City Hall, warned against the establishment by the Salvation Army of a KROC Community Center in West Duluth, and helped block the take-over of Duluth's only other hosptital by the Catholic Church.  I currently serve as the Secretary of this Minnesota 501(c)(3) corporation.

College Teaching

In the Spring of 1994, I began teaching at the post-secondary level.  In the fall of 2001, I came to America with my newly minted Ph.D. in Organization Studies to teach at Long Island University, Penn State, and the University of Minnesota before retiring in 2016.  These pages provide comprehensive details of my educational preparation and experience.


Here is a record of our family history compiled primarily by my uncle Ross Orville Lyttle in Burnaby, British Columbia.  There are also results from recent DNA analyses.

Heather Lyttle

Heather was born in 2009 and is now firmly at the center of my life.  A native speaker of both English and Mandarin, she participated in this year's Annual Gathering of Mensa.  She is a 3rd grade student at Duluth Edison Charter School and is currently raising a kitten named Doug.


Founded on October 1, 1946 at Lincoln College, Oxford by English scientist and lawyer Dr. Lance(lot Lionel) Ware (1915 -2000) with Australian barrister Roland (Fabien) Berrill (1897-1962), Mensa is the international high IQ society, providing a forum for intellectual and social exchange among its members.  Activities include the exchange of ideas through lectures, discussions, journals, and special-interest groups as well as local, regional, national, and international gatherings (conferences).  I am a Life Member of Mensa and currently serve as the Area Coordinator for Northeastern Minnesota.

Charter Commission

Duluth is one of 107 cities (of the 853 cities in Minnesota) that operate under a voter-approved home rule charter.  This allows local control as the city can change its "constitution" without lobbying or waiting for the state to change its rules.  Duluth is one of only three cities to use the "Strong Mayor-Council" form of governance.  An elected mayor operates all administrative agencies, appoints and removes subordinates, prepares and administers a budget, and can veto council legislation.  The chief functions of the council are to legislate and set policies.  The Duluth Charter Commission acts on matters relating to framing and amending that 1878 Charter.  It meets at City Hall on the second Wednesday of every third month and whenever needed to address a specific issue.  I am one of 15 appointed commissioners.


I have given public speeches and even performed a little comedy.  Years ago, I traveled back and forth across Canada with showbands.

Menden Hill

Our family home, built in 1994, is named in honor of Luther Mendenhall.  He was a lawyer, civil war soldier, profilic business leader, and one of the most important founding fathers of Duluth.  A Philadelphia area Quaker whose family hosted a stop on the underground railroad, his reputation was harmed by a scandalous divorce and re-marriage in the early 1900s.

Lord, surround me with those
who seek the truth, and deliver
me from those who've found it.

Border Clan

James Crawford Little of Dumfries, Scotland (affectionally referred to as "Dr. Johnnie") conducted extensive reseaarch on the history of the surname Little.  He prepared and delivered an address to the Scottish Genealogical Society and, in 1988, its substance was published in the journal The Scottish Genealogist.  Sally Little, the wife of accountant Augustine Patterson Little III, noticed the article and encouraged Pat to contact Dr. Johnnie to see about establishing a historical society.  On St. Andrew's Day (November 30) of 1991, Dr. Johnnie formed the Clan Little Society and designed its "Little of Morton Rigg" tartan.  Today, I am the Secretary-Treasurer of the Clan Little Society, Inc., a State of Georgia 501(c)(7) nonprofit corporation.

Humor Research

I have conducted some research into the effective and responsible use of humor for persuasion, such as in teaching, counseling, advertising, or politics  Some of that work has been published in journals and some has been presented at academic conferences.  Also, my work has been cited by others as they do their own investigations.

Spiritual Humanism

Carl Sagan wrote, A religion old or new that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge (Pale Blue Dot, 1994, p. 77).  When America was attacked by religious zealots on September 11, 2001, Richard Alfred "Rick" Zorger of Wyncote, Pennsylvania (head usher at the Philadelphia Ethical Culture Society and systems administrator for the University of Pennsylvania) established the Church of Spiritual Humanism.  Not much has come of it besides "ordaining" tens of thousands of people who can perform weddings and similar rituals in some states.


© 2019, Jim Lyttle