Marcella Britton

January 6, 1914December 15, 2011

Marcella Thorbjorg Britton, 96, died at the Benedictine Health Center in Duluth, Minnesota on December 15. Born on December 30, 1914 in San Francisco, California to Marceli and Helen (Wolfe) Potasz, she grew up in San Francisco with a love of learning, the arts, and the outdoors, spending summers at camp or at a ranch in Santa Rosa. She graduated from San Francisco State University in 1934, majoring in theater and education, and taught for two years before meeting Douglas James Britton when he arrived from Vancouver, B.C. and mistakenly went to the wrong church to meet friends. Marcella and Douglas were married in San Francisco on December 20, 1935 and raised their three children, Doug, Marcia, and Ken, in California and Minnesota. Marcella was married for nearly 40 years to Douglas, and after his death in 1974 she enjoyed a friendship with Jack Chappell with whom she traveled the world and spent time in Minnesota and the West with children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Marcella was a woman of many accomplishments with special interest in theater, performing in local productions throughout her life in Minnesota and California. She enjoyed artistic and creative pursuits of every variety including writing, painting, ceramics, jewelry arts, music and dance. She was an avid reader and received awards for recording hundreds of books for the blind in California. She also volunteered her time at museums in St. Paul and San Jose. She loved sports and the outdoors, and was a skilled tennis player, swimmer, and golfer into her 80s. She also taught her husband and children to camp and revere nature, and cherished time in later life at Boulder Lake with family and friends. Marcella was preceded in death by her parents; husband Douglas; siblings Helen and Paul; by her son Doug’s first wife Katherine Alice “Susie” Britton, and by her granddaughter Liza’s husband Geoff. She is survived by her children, Doug (Nancy Odden) Britton of Duluth, Marcia Wolter Britton of Laramie, Wyoming, and Ken (Heather) Britton of Pray, Montana. Her love of life and family resides in her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Doug’s children, Mark (Pam) Britton of Duluth and their children Mackenzie, Annika, and Elise; Mike (Toni) Britton of Superior, Wisconsin and their children Theo, Evaline, and Davin; Molly (Matt) Strand of Chaska, Minnesota and their children Jack, Sam, and Nolan; and Melissa (Brian) Watschke of Duluth and their children Quinn and Colin—Marcia’s children, Megan (Ben) Zatz of Denver, Colorado and their children Zachary, Hannah, and Oliver; Ellen (Nate Knoernschild) Wolter of Minneapolis and their son Isaac; and Keith (Teresa Knoedler) Wolter of Minneapolis and their children Bergen and Iris—and Ken’s children, Liza Faerber of Gardiner, Montana and her children Myles and Kenyon; Kate (Anthony) Sferra of Brooklyn, New York; and Adam Britton of Pray, Montana; and son-in-law, Nick Wolter of Billings, Montana. The family would like to thank the staff at the Benedictine Health Center and St. Luke’s Hospice for the wonderful care given to Marcella for the past two years. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made in Marcella’s honor to Books Aloud, Inc. P O Box 5731, San Jose, CA, 95150 or the Benedictine Health Center Foundation, 935 Kenwood Ave, Duluth, MN 55811. A private burial will be held at Forest Hill Cemetery in Duluth. A celebration of Marcella’s life will be held in the summer. Please leave a memory of Marcella or words of support for the family at


  • Graveside Service Friday, January 6, 2012

Marcella Britton

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Len Weiss

January 6, 2012

My hugs and condolences reach out to the extended Brittons at the passing of Marc'. She lived an excellent life, and as such continues to be a role model and a guide for us all. We can celebrate her life in that way as what will always be a part of us. She was a person of class and of love, and an astute listener. This is not news to the family of course, but as a friend I feel this way too. I am certain that Marc' is now in the Light.