Dr. Bill Drew Brittain

April 7, 1936October 6, 2013
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Dr. Bill D. Brittain, 77, passed peacefully on Sunday, October, 6th at the Dunlap Hospice Facility in Raleigh, NC. The family will receive visitors at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church on Thursday October 10th at 5:00 p.m. A celebration of life service will take place at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church on Friday October 11th at 3:00 p.m.

He is survived by his loving wife and best friend of 35 years, Mary Ann Brittain, children, Beth Pottle (Tom) of Wilmington, Michael Brittain (Susan) of Cary, Grey Powell (Meg) of Raleigh, Tam Hoang (Dung) of Raleigh, Kim Tien Hoang (Son) of Raleigh, and Angie Ferree (Mike) of Raleigh, his sisters, Mable Lawing and Mary Hunsucker both of Conover, fourteen unique and beautiful grandchildren and numerous foster children. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ted & Mary Alice Brittain of Conover and sister, Betty Hawn.

Bill was born April 7th, 1936 in Hickory, NC. His love for helping others and working with children was apparent from a young age as he helped his mother open the first nursing home in Catawba County. Bill was active in sports playing basketball and football in high school and college. He attended Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC ’59 where he received his A.B. in Education and Psychology after which he accepted a job as Assistant Superintendent of Lutheran Children’s Home in Salem, VA. He later pursued an M.S.W. from the School of Social Work, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. ’65. Upon graduation he accepted a position at Thompson’s Children’s home in Charlotte, NC. Brittain later returned to UNC School of Social Work to pursue a Social Work Administration Certificate, ’68. He went on to become the Resident Director at the Methodist Home for Children, Raleigh, NC.

In 1976, Bill was approached by the Lutheran church to start a program for children in North Carolina. He founded Lutheran Family Services of the Carolinas in the basement of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church where he was a long time member. It grew to be the largest private child and family services agency in the state with programs ranging from foster homes to international adoption services, refugee resettlement, prison ministry and group homes for children who were medically fragile, HIV positive or aggressive and violent. His “no reject/no eject” policy changed the face of children’s services in group homes. He received numerous awards and honors for his work with children including Tar Heel of the Week by the “News & Observer”, Alumnus of the year from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work, an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from Lenoir-Rhyne College, Hickory, NC. He even managed to fast-pitch his way into the North Carolina Softball Hall of Fame in 1995. Bill served as a member, an advisor, President and Chairman to many organizations locally and nationally such as Loaves & Fishes, Southeastern Childcare Organization, Lutheran Social Services, the North Carolina Youth Services Board, and many more.

Bill’s warm spirit and his contribution to our community will be missed by all those whose lives he touched. He loved God, his family, and his work. A die-hard Tar Heel fan, he continued to go to every football and basketball game until he was no longer able. He was a man of strong faith with a strong conviction to help the least among us.

The family would like to express their gratitude to his caregiver, Tracy Elliot, the Hospice staff at the William M. Dunlap Center for Caring and to all who have supported us.

For those who wish memorial contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to Lutheran Family Services of the Carolinas P.O. Box 2369 Salisbury, NC 28415 or Hospice of Wake County 250 Hospice Circle; Raleigh, NC 27607 (ATTN.: Foundation)

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary’s St. Raleigh. Condolences may be made through



  • Visitation Thursday, October 10, 2013
  • Memorial Service Friday, October 11, 2013


  • Private Graveside Service

Dr. Bill Drew Brittain

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Morris Brown

October 14, 2013

Beth & Michael,
I did not know your father very well however he was someone I never could forget. I remember him taking us snow skiing near Boone, NC and running countless 5 & 10K rode races in Raleigh and Wilmington. It is truly amazing the number of people he has helped during his time. I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers.

Morris Brown

Miguel Castañel

October 11, 2013

Dear Mary Ann and family: Meeting Bill to me was an example of a loving parent and human being. His departure leaves an empty space very hard to fill up in all of our hearts but his memories will always be present in many lives even down here in the jungle of Ecuador, South America.

Thanks Bill and thanks also Mary Ann for sharing Bill with all of us.

October 11, 2013

Mary Ann and family,
Bill was a man of great statue in both body and spirit. It was a true privilege to work with him in the many ministries of LFS in NC and SC. I know that he now awaits us in Heaven to welcome us with his warm smile and his familiar slogan, "Here there is truly no reject, no eject!" May the hope and comfort that is our treasure through Christ be your constant companion in the days ahead. (Rom. 8:31) God's Peace!
Henry McKay and family

Frank McKay

October 11, 2013

Mary Ann,
Sonja and I are so sorry for your loss. As you know, my father knew Bill well and had great respect for him and his work. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Frank and Sonja McKay

Jerry Baker

October 11, 2013

It was over forty years ago when I came to know Bill, at what was then known as The Methodist Home for Children. The gently rolling hills of the campus belied the lives of the children who lived there. Many had never heard the words "I love you" and most rebelled at any authority. It was here that I learned from my boss/mentor ( Bill) how to be a parent, as a twenty-two year old, to 14 boys and girls, 13 to 18 years old.
Bill was a quiet and gentle man and had a way of making you understand the right way to do things, but never in a demanding way...always gently guiding. He was, at the same time, a man's man; a man who had tremendous respect of his peers and the love of the children he shepherded.
Whether it was playing basketball in the Home gym with Pistol Pete Maravich , supervising a greased pig contest in the Home pool, or taking the kids to Myrtle Beach and playing golf, Bill remained the same person....a gentle and loving man who loved children and demanded what was best for each and every one of them.
Being 22 years old and the parent to 14 teenagers created many questions such as "what do you say to a child who has never heard the words I love you?" Knowing that the answer always depended on the child asking the question, Bill never failed to provide the guidance needed at just the right time.
All of this is so very long ago. Normally, it would be easy to forget someone you knew over forty years ago. Not with Bill. Once you got to know this man, you started counting your blessings and it became impossible to forget him and his influence on your life. Not keeping him in my life for all these many years is my loss for which I am truly sorry.
I wish for his family and close friends, which are many, prayers for your peace in the knowledge of Bill's love for each of you. Bill is now with his Father and as I pray for him tonight I will say as in Pilgrimage closings " God loves you and so do I". Rest in peace my friend......
Jerry Baker

Tracy Elliott Gilbert

October 11, 2013

MaryAnn and Family I really in joyed the time that I got to spend with Bill and the rest of your family even if it was for only 6 months. I love you all.

Raleigh Bailey

October 10, 2013

If I were to name mentors in my life, Bill Brittain would be at the top of my list. I had the privilege of working with Lutheran Family Services Refugee Programs under his supervision from 1984 to 1989 and again in the early nineties. That experience shaped the rest of my professional career in real and dramatic ways. His leadership and support of refugees and advocacy for those who needed to be championed,changed the face of North Carolina, making this a diverse and inclusive state.
Thanks, Bill.

J. L. Hopper

October 10, 2013

It is, a great sorrow to here of the pasting of Dr. Brittain. Mrs. Mary Ann, and family I just want to say THANK YOU for sharing him with the world. I know that I am only one of a million who's life was changed by him. It was a honor to work with him at L.F.S. for 16 plus years. May the Love of Our Lord continue to comfort you during this time of sorrow. In your favorite Cheer Dr. Brittain L.F.S. YES, YES, YES. .. YES, YES, YES to a TRUE MAN OF GOD. you will be missed, but Thank God for the Legacy that will continue to live because of You....

October 10, 2013

Mary Ann and family,
Jenifer and I were saddened to hear of your loss and we are certainly keeping you in our thoughts. I still have great memories of my time at the Methodist Home and especially the time I had to work with Bill. We wish we could be at the service but have commitments in Asheville now that we have moved to the mountains. I hope we can get together in the future.

Jim and Jenifer Montsinger

Carl Miller

October 10, 2013

I was privileged to know Bill since 1978. I was blessed to work with him from 1985 until his retirement in 2001. He was an inspiration and great influence in my life. He was a true Christian, family man and UNC-CH Fan, like no other. We attended many UNC-CH sports events together as well as played many rounds of golf. He was one of the very best athletes that I have ever observed. He will be missed and remembered by all who knew him. He had countless friends and associates and did so much to serve others through his professional work and in his personal involvement with others.
Bill was my hero, friend and someone I learned a great deal from.
Blessings and condolences to his wonderful immediate and extended family.
Bill set a wonderful example for all of us to emulate and appreciate. He was a blessing to this earth. Rest in peace.