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Britton, Charles Howard “Chuck” – Obituary

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Charles Howard “Chuck” Britton, 84, of Baker City, died Feb. 26, 2004, at St. Elizabeth Health Services.

His funeral will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St. Interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. There will be a reception afterward at the United Methodist Church, 1919 Second St.

Visitations will be until 7 o’clock tonight at Coles Funeral Home.

Chuck was born on Sept. 3, 1920, to Howard C. and Helena Britton. He was raised on the family homestead near Lusk, Wyo., and graduated from Torrington High School in 1937.

He married Vivian Vondra, his childhood friend, on Dec. 31, 1939, at Torrington, Wyo. Chuck and Viv moved west, living in Idaho, Seattle and Portland. Chuck worked as a welder in the shipyards during World War II.

They moved to Baker in September 1945 and established Britton Bros. with his brother, Lester. In 1948 he and Vivian became sole owners of the farm equipment company, renaming it Britton Equipment Co.

Having grown up on the arid, eastern Wyoming prairie, Chuck appreciated the potential in the water-rich Baker Valley. He pioneered both sprinkler and gravity-flow irrigation throughout the county.

In the late 1960s he recruited his sons, Howard and Harold, from Oregon State University to become partners in Britton Equipment. Leo Poe became the third partner in 1972.

At that time the product line was expanded to include Case and David Brown lines and eventually John Deere and New Holland as well. After Chuck sold his final interest in the business, he continued as an adviser and a salesman until his final retirement in 1985.

After selling the business, he and Vivian traveled extensively in the United States and enjoyed spending winters in Arizona. Vivian died in 1988.

In 1989, Chuck married Lois Butts, a longtime family friend. They enjoyed 13 years together until her death in 2002.

Chuck was a life member of the Baker Elks Lodge and a member of Oregon Trailers Good Sam Club. He enjoyed square dancing, camping and playing bingo and pinochle games with friends and family.

Survivors include his four children and their spouses, Evelyn and John Plankinton of Menlo Park, Calif., Howard and Sandee Britton of Baker City, Harold and Judy Britton of Hillsboro and Betty Braswell of Baker City; eight grandchildren, Chuck Britton and his wife, Abby, of Tigard, Dave Britton and his wife, Kristina, of Beaverton, Lisa Britton, Ed Braswell and his wife, Diane, Emily Bryant and her husband, Bob, all of Baker City, Bryce Britton of Seattle, Amy James and her husband, Werner, of Hillsboro, and Robin Plankinton of Menlo Park, Calif.; six great-grandchildren, Vivian Britton, Levi Britton, Tyler Britton, Jordan Bryant, Katee Braswell and Justin Braswell; brother, Erle Britton and his wife, Neva, of Phoenix, Ariz.; longtime friend, Milton Prowell of Baker City, and special friend, Myrtle Colvard of Baker City.

He was preceded in death by two sisters, Ruth and Alice, and a brother, Lester.

Memorial contributions may be made to Pathway Hospice in care of Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, March 4, 2005
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor

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