AUGUST 6, 1924 - OCTOBER 16, 2020
Family is sad to announce the passing of John Edwin Britton on Friday October 16, 2020 at the age of 96 years.
John was born in Unity Saskatchewan, on August 6, 1924, the 4th of 13 children for Tom and Annie Britton. He soon came to be known as “Red” among family and friends due to his red hair. In September of 1933, Tom took the 3 eldest sons, Norman, Harry, and John, a team of horses, 2 cows, and a few possessions and headed to the Mudie Lake district, near Pierceland in northern Saskatchewan to homestead. Annie stayed in Unity with the rest of the kids until Tom and the boys got things started.
John worked hard at the farm alongside his brothers and sisters, but they also had lots of fun swimming in Mudie Lake, playing baseball, boxing, and dancing all over the district.
WW ll broke out in 1939 and Tom, Norman, and Harry joined up. When John received his draft letter, Tom requested and was granted a special dispensation for John to stay home on the farm. John always felt bad about not serving during the war, perhaps that is why he was so dedicated to serving his community, his province, and his country at every opportunity.
Sometime along the way John met a pretty girl from Beacon Hill named Amy McLaren. Romance blossomed; well, as much as it could when you had to ride 2-4 hours on horseback, (depending on the route you took) to see one another. They were married on October 16, 1944. The young couple lived in Mudie Lake and made their living cattle ranching and trapping muskrats to sell the skins. They were blessed with 3 daughters, Barbara, Beverly, and Cindy, and later 6 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. John and Amy eventually took over the McLaren family farm until they moved into Pierceland in 1954. Like many men in that generation, John supplemented the farm income by working away from home during the winters. In the late 1940s, he worked at the mines in Yellowknife. John worked away again on the oil rigs and was there when Leduc #1 came in. In 1956 John began a new adventure, that of business ownership, purchasing the Pierceland Imperial Oil Bulk Agency. In 1964 John and Amy had the opportunity to take their experience in Imperial Oil to a larger agency and John was excited to return to Unity with his family.
John quickly became active in the community, joining Masons and Elks, taking a leadership role in both organizations. John was an exemplary mason and took great pride in his ritual work. He served as Master of The Lodge more than once. He was a charter member of the Elks serving in all the chairs of the organization including Exalted Ruler. November of this year, 2020, would have marked 55 years of membership.
John's leadership skills lead him to be elected to Unity Town Council, taking a special interest in the Recreation Board. John later joined the Shriners and took an active and dedicated leadership role there as well, becoming Potentate of his Divan.
John did not stop there. In 1986 he threw his hat into the ring of provincial politics and was elected to the Saskatchewan Legislature, he retired from Esso 1 year later. He served 2, 4-year terms.
Camping was always a favourite part of summer and once John bought a boat it was never really clear who was having more fun, the kids being dragged around the lake on tubes, skis and wakeboards or Grandpa trying to dump them off. These are some of the grandchildren's fondest childhood memories.
John was a terrific public speaker and was the MC at most family weddings. He had a great sense of humour and he loved a game of cards pretty well anytime. Many of his nieces and nephews have told us that Uncle Red was their favourite.
John and Amys’ home was always a place to be welcomed, fed, safe, and loved. Many of the girls' friends considered them a bonus set of parents and they were affectionately known as Grandma and Grandpa to many.
We find it quite fitting that he chose to leave this earth on what would have been their wedding anniversary. He and Amy were partners, devoted to each other and their family, united in everything they did, and they were a shining example of what love looks like.
It is said, the true measure of a man is how tall he stands in the eyes of his family. My friends, this man was a GIANT!
Left to cherish his memory are his daughters, Barb (Gord) Riddell - children David (Shauna), Trent (Carolyn); Bev Bast - children Chad (Elisa), Kari; Cindy (Don) Vierboom - children Cameron (Amanda), Steven (Lindsay); Great Grandchildren Adam, Madeylyn Riddell; Hannah, Alex Riddell; Pearson, Jade, Harrison, Benson Bast, Roen Malarsky; Ryker Vierboom; Bennett, Rhys Vierboom.
John was predeceased by his wife Amy Britton (2012); Infant son Edwin; numerous members of his large and loving family
Tributes in Johns memory to Shriners Travel Fund, or charity of your choice, cards and remembrances may be directed to:
The Britton Family
c/o Chad Bast
Box 933 Unity, Sask.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of JOHN EDWIN BRITTON, please visit our floral store.
Shriners Travel Fund