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Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, William Britton lived a life of purpose made up of moments shared with the ones he loved. He was a hard working man who wholeheartedly applied himself to everything he did and was content in whatever life brought. A man of many interests, William had a love for traveling and was never one to be still. He accomplished so many things of which to be proud, but he was a humble man whose greatest joy was found in bringing happiness to others. A loving father and devoted friend, William will be forever missed but never forgotten.
The end of WWI in 1919 brought a time of political unrest and strikes to Australia when unions became more aggressive in protecting workers’ rights. Jazz shaped the culture, and women gained greater forms of expression in the clothes they wore, in the way they fixed their hair, and in finding work outside the home. It was during this eventful time that William and Nellie (Holbing) Britton were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby in March of 1927. The big day finally arrived on March 26th when the baby boy they named William John drew his first breath in Melbourne, Australia. He was the younger of two children born to his parents and was raised in the family home alongside his older sister, Ida.
In many ways William experienced an upbringing that was typical for the youth of his generation. He established a strong work ethic during his formative years when he helped his father with chores at his father’s fruit and vegetable market. William also helped his father in raising English bulldogs that they then presented in shows. The crash of the stock market was felt worldwide, including in William’s family as money was very tight. The Britton family heated their home with coal, and it was often his job to get up and load the furnace. William attended local schools and played soccer, cricket, and Australian rules football. He started his apprenticeship as a plumber in 1942 when he was just 15.
When his sister married a solider during WWII and came to America, William soon followed. After the death of his father, William made his way traveling through India and England, initially settling in Canada before coming to America. He even sailed aboard the Queen Mary! Known for his strong work ethic, William worked as a plumber in Melbourne and surrounding area including on a military base. When he came to Canada he worked as a plumber there, and once in the United States he worked as a plumber for Henry Ford Hospital and Plumbers Local 98.
First and foremost in William’s life was always his family and friends. He met a certain young girl at a dance, and after dating for a time they were married. Although they were later divorced, William was forever grateful for his two sons, John William and Robert David. He also remained close to his sister, Ida. William, an avid golfer and his traveling companion, Lee Golding, took several road trips to Florida where they played plenty of golf on various courses. During his retirement years he golfed every single day. There was also the time that he took a month long trip to Australia with John, Robert, and Lee when they visited Melbourne, Sidney, and a trip along the coast to the Great Barrier Reef. If he wasn’t golfing, William could often be found bowling as he was regularly on two to three bowling leagues at a time. It was quite an accomplishment when he bowled his first 300 game at the age of 82! Loyal to his home teams, William followed the Detroit Tigers and the Red Wings, too.
With unending devotion to his family and friends, William Britton was such a blessing to others. He worked hard, but he played hard, too, and he was generous when it came to those around him. Deeply loved, William will be greatly missed.
William Britton died on March 8, 2015. William’s family includes his sons, John and Robert. William was preceded in death by his sister, Ida. Visitation will be held on Sunday from 1 p.m. until time the time of service 3 p.m. at our Neely-Turowski Life Story Funeral Home, 30200 Five Mile (Between Middlebelt and Merriman). In Lieu of Flowers memorials may be made to the Salvation Army. You may sign the guest book and share memories at: www.TurowskiLifeStory.com