February 14, 1924 — January 8, 2016
David Earl Britton Jr. was born in Fresno, California on February 14, 1924 and passed from this life to be with his beloved wife, Loretta, on January 8, 2016 in Bakersfield, California. David was the first child of his parents, David Earl Britton Sr. of Uniontown, Kansas and Catherine Marie Matthes of Council Bluffs, Iowa. His younger siblings are Harold Britton, who passed away in 2013, and Norman Britton, both born in Fresno as well.
Dad grew up in Fresno and had a typical childhood until the death of his father in 1934. In the midst of the Great Depression, his mother eventually found work as a telephone operator and Dad and his brothers then spent much of their time at Holmes playground one block from their home where they played football, baseball and received much needed structure in their early lives. His maternal grandparents also helped Dad with both love and discipline.
Dad was a 1942 graduate of Theodore Roosevelt High School in Fresno after which he spent six months working in the shipyards in Richmond, California building Liberty ships for the war effort and to financially help his mother at home. He soon felt the need to serve his country in a more meaningful way and entered the Army where he became a Sergeant in the 11th Airborne Division and became qualified as a parachutist. Dad saw combat in New Guinea and the Philippines, where he participated in the Battle of Manilla. Following the dropping of the Atomic Bombs on Japan, Dad’s unit was one of the first to occupy Japan where they secured the airfield that General MacArthur used to enter Japan for the surrender ceremonies.
Following the war, Dad continued his education at the California State Polytechnic College in San Luis Obispo where he received his Diploma in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Industries. He found employment in Fresno at Conditioned Air and soon found love when he met our mother, Loretta Agnes Taylor of New Jersey. They were married in August of 1953 and two sons were born – Allen Wayne Britton in 1955 and Donald James Britton in 1957.
David and Loretta raised their family in Fresno until 1977 when they purchased five empty acres of land near Sanger, California, built the house of their dreams and started growing Almonds. This was a quite an adventure for them and Dad loved riding his tractor, irrigating, spraying and pruning the trees and harvesting the crop, often by hand in the early years. Their grandchildren have fond memories of their time with Grandma and Grandpa and, with time, grew to love Grandpa’s oh-so corny jokes.
In 2004, David and Loretta moved to Bakersfield, California to be near their son, Donald. It was there that Mom passed away in 2009 and Dad spent the next five and a half years keeping house. He learned to cook and spent many hours with his books. He very much enjoyed traveling with his family as well as sharing and learning about our family’s history along the way.
Dad was a wonderful role model for us. He lived by the Golden Rule, was always interested in the lives of his children, grand-children and great-grandson and just loved to be with us. In his later years he loved to share the stories of his life and we loved to hear them. It is not often that you hear of someone about whom nothing unkind can be said, but that was our Dad.
Dad is survived by his brother Norman Britton and his wife Shirley of Fresno, California; his son Allen Britton and his wife Carmen of Tomball, Texas; his son Donald Britton and his wife Susan of Bakersfield, California; grandchildren Kristin Britton; Marcy and David McCarthy and their son Carter; Brent DeGeare; Sarah and Calvin Higby and Danae Britton.
Dad, we cherish the time that we had with you. Thank you for your example and counsel. We love you, miss you and look forward to being with you again very soon.
Interment will be on Thursday, January 14, 2016, promptly at 1:15 pm at the Bakersfield National Cemetery, 30338 East Bear Mountain Blvd, Arvin, CA.