Donald Ray Britton, supported and surrounded by his loving family, passed away in Evansville, Indiana, on September 2, 2023.
Don was born on August 8, 1943, to Carl and Freeda Britton in Evansville, Indiana. He married his beloved, Janice Chastain, on February 10, 1968.
Don grew up in Effingham, Illinois, and graduated from Effingham High School in 1961. He then attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, where he graduated with a degree in Finance in 1965. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in September and completed Officer Training School in December of that same year. After further intense training, he was deployed to Thailand in 1968, where he flew 207 combat missions. He attained the rank of Captain and was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and thirteen Air Medals.
Don and Janice were married three months before his deployment to Thailand. After he returned, he was reassigned to Otis Air Force Base, where their son, Eric, was born. In 1971, Don and his family moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where he began a long and illustrious career as a mortgage banker. Throughout their married life they lived in numerous locations, settling in Newburgh, Indiana after his retirement in 2000 as the President and CEO of Old Kent Mortgage Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Don was a kind and generous man—a magnanimous individual, a doer of good deeds, especially admirable as he was unaware his deeds were so good. He was ever devoted to his wife, his son, his daughter-in-law, and three adored and adoring grandchildren, as well as to his younger sister and brother and their families, extended family, and friends.
Don was a storyteller. His stories flowed forth as an ongoing stream. Some were humorous, many sad, all poignant. These stories, and the reflection of Don in his stories, will be imprinted in the hearts and minds of his loved ones forever, and so they will live on. Both his actions and his narratives will filter down through generations—a gift to all who knew him, and even to those who didn’t have the privilege of knowing him. Despite his many accomplishments, he was a modest and humble man, traits that drew others to him. He was, simply put, accepting. His legacy is long and honorable, and the influence he leaves on the lives of his loved ones and admirers is immeasurable.
Don is survived by Janice, his wife of fifty-five years, their son Eric and daughter-in-law Brenda Moreno-Britton, and his three grandchildren— Eric Tomas, William, and Victoria. He is also survived by his sister, Janet Britton Bilderback and her husband, Ed Bilderback as well as his brother, Thomas Britton and his wife, Molly Edwards-Britton. He leaves behind loving cousins, nephews, nieces, in-laws and countless friends and acquaintances.
Visitation will be held from 12:30 P.M. to 2:30 P.M. on Saturday, September 16th at Morton and Johnston Funeral Home in Benton, Illinois, and a graveside service with military honors conducted by Benton American Legion Post #280, VFW Post #2671 and the Air Force Honors Team will follow at the Masonic and Odd Fellows Cemetery, also in Benton. Please visit www.mortonjohnstonfuneralhome.com for more information or to send online condolences.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the Carl O. and Freeda M. Britton Scholarship Fund, established to assist young people from Effingham and Franklin counties. To donate, please contact Donor Relations, Southern Illinois University Foundation, Colyer Hall, 1235 Douglas Drive, Carbondale, Illinois, 62901.
Carl O. and Freeda M. Britton Scholarship Fund
1235 Douglas Drive, Mail Code 6805, Carbondale IL 62901