Merlin Littlefield, a former music industry executive who enjoyed a second successful career in state government, died of pancreatic cancer at the Alive Hospice in Nashville on Sept. 9. He was 65.

A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Littlefield graduated from Texas Christian University and worked in radio promotion in Dallas. He also worked for RCA Records in Dallas and traveled with artists such as Henry Mancini and Elvis Presley. He spent 19 years in the Nashville office of ASCAP, where he signed artists including Reba McEntire, George Strait, Lyle Lovett and Gary Burr to the performance rights organization.

He tirelessly worked on behalf of successful and struggling songwriters to help improve their careers and lives. He served on the boards of industry organizations, including the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music and the Recording Academy, as well as the board of the Nashville Zoo. After leaving ASCAP and working briefly in music publishing, he began a second career in government. In 1999, he joined the Tennessee Department of Corrections before accepting a position as director of planning and development for the state's Division of Mental Retardation Services.

In his spare time, Littlefield and his wife, Eileen Littlefield, enjoyed spending time with their five dogs, Kobo, Saki, Char-Li, Ernie and Bubbles. He is survived by his wife, Eileen, and his daughter, Courtney Littlefield of Atlanta. Funeral Service will be on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Christ Church, 15354 Old Hickory Blvd., Nashville, with visitation on Friday from 5-8 p.m., at Woodlawn-Roesch-Patton Dignity Hall, 660 Thompson Lane, Nashville.

The family requests that donations be made to Japanese Chin Care and Rescue Effort Inc., 1114 - 12th St., #305, Santa Monica, CA 90403.