Fritz Ray Brittain
June 20, 1933 – June 4, 2021
Fritz was born in 1933 in Burke county, North Carolina and raised during the depression years of the 1930’s and the Second World War years of the 1940’s. He had seven siblings, the oldest brother Lawrence, the one girl Ozelle, older brothers Kermit and Jack, and younger brothers Milton, Bobby and Don. He graduated from Salem High School in 1951, attended college at Appalachian State College in Boone, NC for one year, served in the US Army for two years, 1954 and 1955, in Korea. He then came back home and completed his college education at Lenoir Rhyne College in Hickory, NC graduating in 1959 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration. During his college tenure he met and married his life-long partner and love of his life, Emily Yowell of Madison County, VA, having celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary on June 1st. After graduation, he took a job and worked for Morton Frozen Foods of Crozet, VA; then moved on to working in Charlottesville VA for United States Instrument Corporation, Stromberg-Carlson Corporation and Comdial Corporation, from which he retired in 1986. After retirement from that he busied himself with the building business of buying and rehabilitating old houses along with building barns and other out-buildings of all kinds.
In 1994 he and Emily had a chance to purchase her grandfather’s home place in Rochelle, Madison County, VA. After some spruce-up work on the house, they moved into it in December 1994 and enjoyed living there the remainder of their lives. In Rochelle, Fritz was very active in their community, serving as Director of Economic Development for Madison County from 1995 – 2005, holding almost every position within the Ruritan Club over the years, and also highly active holding multiple titles in his and Emily’s church of Mt Nebo Lutheran.
He is survived by his wife, Emily; children Kirk Brittain and spouse Candie, Kim Valenti and spouse Dan, and Kathryn Dillon; 8 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; and, his 2 younger brothers Bob and Don.
Funeral services will be held on Sunday 6/13/21 at 3:00 pm at Mt Nebo Lutheran Church at 3980 Jack's Shop Rd., Rochelle, VA 22738; arrangements made through Cremation Society of Virginia with link of www.virginiacremate.com. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Mt Nebo Lutheran Church.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Fritz Ray Brittain
June 11, 2021
Impossible for me to adequately describe the infinite ways Dodad impacted my entire life. His counsel was always wise and appreciated, and his humor made everything a touch lighter. We went to his house every Sunday for my first 20 years, where he grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and steaks, to go with all of Memaw's fixins. They bought me and Neil Lionel model train sets which were allowed to take up a large chunk of the basement for some years, near the old pinball machine he kept functional. And then he got us fourwheelers from Jarman's and let us tear up a track in the side yard! I have faint but cozy memories of playing in a corner of that shop while he piddled at some project, with a fire in the woodstove. It was not until well into my 20s that we found the time to start working on projects together, and I hold him as my original and best carpentry mentor. He literally knew how to do anything, and could teach skills as deftly as he could employ them. While I do have a firm memory of his hand holding and swinging a hammer, I know I will never be as steady and natural with that or most other tools. I am extremely grateful for all the time and patience he dedicated to my and Issa's various projects, and while he is sorely missed his legend and spirit will live on in all of the many future sheds I, and all of us, will build!
June 10, 2021
I remember we were shooting his .22 at some black birds and I hit 4 with one bullet. We put them in a bucket and carried them down the field. Then one flapped and flew away and we both couldn't believe either occurrence.
I remember he would read aloud every sign he saw while driving
I remember he always made an air brake sound while braking "ch-ch-ch-ch"
I remember he was always so happy to see me or hear from me on the phone. Especially if Sara or his great grand daughter, Ozelle, was with me.
I remember his famous, frequent Dodad quips
"Good enough for who it's for!"
"Who fired that shot?! Ha ha ha"
Dodad once told me that the only thing he learned from his father was how not to act. But he was a role model for me on how to respect and joke with everyone you interact with, and even befriend most of those.
June 8, 2021
I don't have a lifetime of memories of Fritz, but the feeling I have as I write this is the very feeling I got from him upon first meeting him: That he was my Dodad too.
He greeted me with an open heart and a toothy grin, and from the first moment we had a chance to hang out at any length, I felt I had a friend for Life. He was a charismatic man, who remained the center of attention even after leaving the room. My children, his great grandchildren, would come home with stories of his wizardry with a carpenter's tool, or of tours of the farmland in the back of a trailer pulled by a lawnmower. I'm forever grateful for the memories he made for them, thankful for the gift of his ever present playfulness and country wit, and thankful to have hung out and enjoyed the simple pleasures like picking mulberries with him.
On more than one occasion he visited our house as on-call handy man, to fix one small thing or another at Laura's request, usually bringing his brother Bob and they would hang out for a spell, git r done, have some lunch, tell some jokes and head home for nap. Those times spent around the table after the chore was done, or sitting on the porch in the midst of the happy chaos that is a family gathering, coupled with the sound of his easy laughter will be the memories that stay with me the most, more than any one thing.
Fritz's presence was a calming one, a grounding one and on more than one occasion he was my safe place in a whirlwind of activity.....not just a person, but a destination. I am grateful for him, for his time here, for my time with him, for what this exemplary family man meant to everyone around him and for what he gave of himself that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.
June 8, 2021
One of the best parts about Dodad was his calmness. He was always so patient when he was doing something with us grand kids and great grand kids.
He could always make or fix anything you needed.
Ronan’s favorite memory is tractor rides to the mulberry trees- always a favorite summer treat!
June 8, 2021
So many great memories with this “Great Brittain” as he chuckled calling himself this. His jokes and quick wit is a favorite trait and memory of my dad. A favorite memory is in my childhood neighborhood where he loved to churn peach homemade ice cream and take us on rides on his model T. All of the neighborhood kids would be jumping on the outside of the vehicle- standing on the running boards, sitting on the wheel cover while holding on to the headlight; about 14 kids as he drove us around the neighborhood honking the horn.
The more recent memories involve his four great grandchildren, my grandchildren. Wow how his face lit up when he saw them coming and he was quick to ask if they wanted a tractor ride or took them mulberry picking or built them toolboxes and let them work with tools with him. He was an amazing teacher, kind and loving father and I will miss his earth side presence more than words can express. Thanks for the memories, Dad. I love you! ❤️
June 8, 2021
I have many memories, but to only pick a few-
Learning the art of training bird dogs, even if it meant being on all four yourself.
Learning to hunt- yeah - I was not that good.
Learning to mow grass before I could run
Sending me and my sisters on an lawn mower and wagon to the woods and saying see you at dinner time.
Making long trips to NC all packed into the back of a station wagon, driving all night only to stop at Krispy Cream donuts to eat them coming right off the line – best thing every.
So many more
My Father and best friend will be greatly missed in this place BUT for an short period of time as will meet again.