Carl Justin Britton, Sr., 87, of Peterborough, passed away peacefully at Pheasant Wood Center on January 22, losing his battle with the COVID-19 virus as have so many in our communities. During his life, he was a wonderful husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, uncle, cousin, and friend, as well as a memorable teacher, principal, navy sailor, musician, policeman and selectman.
Carl was born on March 29, 1933 in Keene to parents Elton P. Britton and Rosemond E. (Frizzell) Britton, now deceased. Carl and his wife of 64 years, Marilyn A. (Allen) Britton shared the joy of raising their three children, Carl J. Britton, Jr., Stuart A. Britton, and Debra B. Eshbaugh.
Carl graduated from Keene High School in 1951 and then enjoyed his service in the US Navy from 1951-55 as a Sonarman 2nd Class on the USS The Sullivans destroyer (DD537) during the Korean conflict. While in the navy, he crossed the equator and sailed around the world, seeing 33 countries. He then went on to receive a B.Ed. from Keene Teachers College (Keene State College) in 1959, an MST from the University of New Hampshire in 1965, and did further graduate work in 1968-69 in a National Science Foundation program for math teachers at Western Washington University (Bellingham, WA).
His career in education began in Plymouth NH from 1959-70 where he served as math department chair for Plymouth HS and a math professor at Plymouth State College (Plymouth University). In 1970, his family moved to Peterborough where he joined the faculty of the newly created ConVal High School, where he served first as math department chair for 3 years, then Assistant Principal for 9 years, and finally Principal, retiring in 1983. His very influential years at ConVal included support for many elements of the school, especially the National Honor Society and music department, and building the annual class schedule. He also enjoyed his work with the ConVal Administration Organization. He always had an open door for students, faculty, parents, school board and the community at large, earning the respect of all.
Carl’s love of music, which he passed on to his children, started early and gave him many wonderful memories that he shared with his family, such as playing a trumpet processional for his sister’s wedding when he was only 12. He played multiple brass instruments and sang in school ensembles during junior and senior high school, and performed with Keene’s Junior Police Band and American Legion Band. He sang with and directed the choir of the Methodist church in Plymouth, established a student male choir while at Plymouth high school, and sang with the choir of the Union Congregational Church in Peterborough.
In addition to being a parent and educator, he was active in his various church communities, and served Plymouth as a part-time police officer and then as a Selectman. In Peterborough, he assisted with the church annual audit and also served on the search committee for the police chief.
In later life, he fought a chronic illness that forced his early retirement from the work he loved. The dedication he showed during his career and the courage he showed throughout his illness touched so many people. He was respected as a teacher and administrator, having mentored countless students and teachers over the years. He will be remembered for his kindness, patience, and good humor.
Carl is predeceased by his parents, his sisters Margaret Kingsbury (husband Robert), Pauline Courchene (husband Gordon) and Bertha Bressett, as well as several cousins, nieces and nephews.
He is survived by his wife Marilyn, sons Carl Jr. of Littleton, MA (wife Peggy, children Elizabeth and William) and Stuart of North Attleborough, MA (wife Audrey, step-son Jason Hall and wife Alyssa), and daughter Debra of Austin, TX (husband John Eshbaugh, son Allen Roy and wife Darcy). He is also survived by brother-in-law Ken Bressett of Colorado, Marilyn’s sisters Martha Chartrand, Avery Morgan, brother Robert Allen and companion Ann, all of New Hampshire, and many cousins, nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and -nephews, and two great grandsons.
A memorial service for Carl will be announced at a later date when it is safe for a celebratory gathering. There will be a private interment in the spring.
In lieu of flowers, Carl requested a memorial fund be set up to support the ConVal High School music department. Donations may be made out to "Marilyn Britton" with "Carl Britton Memorial Music Fund" written on the memo line. Donations may be sent to Carl Britton Memorial Fund, c/o Marilyn Britton, 16 Long Hill Road, Peterborough, NH 03458.
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