Faye McClelland Brittingham
September 9, 1921 – April 8, 2018
Little Faye awoke to the sound of songbirds at 5 a.m. on a farm in southeast Georgia, just before the sun crept above the horizon. She would drop out of bed every morning at this time, then go to the kitchen. It was the spring of 1927 and she was only 5 years old, but her mother had taught her to make biscuits. There, she climbed on top of a stool by the counter so she could reach the ingredients, left there by her mother an hour before. Dutifully, she mixed her biscuit dough, rolled them out, and shoved them in a hot oven before dressing herself for the day. Soon, her mother and father would appear from the fields to have their breakfast, and address the needs of their two small children. The routine of daily work and self-reliance, learned at this early age would prepare her for the difficult years that lay before her, and define her personal strength and determination for the rest of her life. Faye McClelland Brittingham of Atlanta, Georgia, passed away of natural causes on April 8, 2018. Born in Guyton, Georgia, on September 9, 1921, she was 96. In 1938, Faye and her teammates won the Georgia State Women’s High School Basketball Championship. She traveled around the southeast with her team members playing other high school teams during the ensuing weeks. She would later say that 1938 was the happiest and most carefree year of her life. She, her husband and their 6 children moved to Atlanta in 1955. In 1958 tragedy struck. A vehicular accident took the life of her third child and her husband suffered a disabling brain injury. Her son Jack was 12 years old. Her husband, Kenneth Leonard Brittingham, Sr., was the victim of a severe head injury, he would never be the same again. His head injury created a tendency towards occasional and unpredictable violence forcing separation from the family. Kenneth returned to his hometown and spent the rest of his life living with and close to his mother, brothers and sister. Divorce ensued, but Faye never remarried. Faye’s strength and tenacity, along with the love and help of her friends and family, pulled her through the unimaginable grief and turmoil that remained during the many years to come. Early in her marriage, she worked in her mother-in-law’s flower shop, but had never truly worked outside the home, and there was no life or disability insurance. But Faye and her two eldest children rolled up their sleeves and went to work supporting and keeping the family together. She and her eldest daughter, Patricia, were expert seamstresses, and made clothes for others throughout the first year. Her eldest son, Kenneth, Jr., quit day high school and attended night high school at 15 years-old to work at a service station. All worked weekends, days and nights. The hard-work and perseverance paid off. Life got easier as time went on. A great southern cook herself, Faye found her niche in the food industry rising from cashier to managing a cafeteria for Davis Brothers in Atlanta before suffering a career ending injury from an auto accident in 1975. By then, her children were well equipped to care for her for the rest of her life, and her worries were indeed over until the end. She spent a long and happy retirement doing her favorite things, cooking and tending to her plants and flowers. Today her spirit resonates in her 3 sisters, her 5 living children, 9 grandchildren, her 15 living great grandchildren, and 10 living great, great grandchildren, and friends. Today, the songbirds still sing with the morning sunlight, but now the Angels can truly enjoy biscuits worthy of Heaven. Services will be held at Old Fellowship Baptist Church, 5526 US Hwy. 80 E, Brooklet, GA, 30415, at 1:00 p.m. on June 9, 2018. After the interment, a reception will be held in the church reception hall. Donations may be made in Faye’s honor to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (please see their webpage online, stjude.org). Please reference memorial ID #11275867. Or donate to Old Fellowship Baptist Church.
- Memorial Service Saturday, June 9, 2018