OBITUARY

Charles Edward Britt, Jr.

May 10, 1924November 12, 2020
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Capt. Charles E. Britt, Jr., 96, succumbed on November 12, 2020 due to injuries received in a recent fall. Raised during the Depression by his grandmother, he was born May 10, 1924 in Salisbury, North Carolina to Ruby and Charles Britt. Charlie volunteered for the WWII draft near the end of his senior year in high school and was inducted into the Navy May 28, 1943. After boot camp he was assigned to LST-128. A plank owner, he remained on her throughout the duration of the war, becoming a Signalman 2nd class. He was involved in supplying troops during some of the fiercest Pacific battles of WWII, including Iwo Jima, Tarawa, Kwajalein, and Saipan. In Norfolk Fire he was stationed with Capt. Johnny Butler for 3 years before finding out that while Charlie was ferrying supplies to troops on Iwo Jima, Johnny Butler had been pinned down on the beaches of Iwo Jima cussin’ the sailors because it was taking so long to get supplies! The war wasn’t something either ever wanted to talk about. Despite all he went through during WWII, he looked back fondly on his years in the Navy. Charlie was hired by Norfolk Fire Department September 12, 1949 and retired with just shy of 38 years of service to the citizens of Norfolk on July 1, 1987. Once hired, he devoted the rest of his adult life to his family and the fire service. A good firefighter and a respected fire officer, Captain Britt was knowledgeable, a good leader and a fun-loving instigator. His fire service commitment ran deep – in 1997, when he was 73 years old, a late-night fire broke out across the street from his home. Having been alerted by the mother, Charlie ran over, entered the burning building and was able to rescue a 5-year-old boy although 3 other family members perished in the blaze. As a result of his heroic actions, Charlie was selected as a recipient of the Carnegie Medal. Awarded by the international Carnegie Hero Commission, it was founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1904 to recognize “… a civilian who voluntarily risks his or her life to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the life of another person...” As a result, Norfolk Fire-Rescue created the Captain Charlie Britt Life Saving Award. This is the highest award granted by Norfolk Fire-Rescue. An altogether extraordinary life indeed – although he would never say so or even agree. He and his wife Marian (whom he lost in 1992 after 45 years of marriage) raised 3 children and were devoted to them and their grandchildren including a deaf grandson, Chris, who Charlie delighted in communicating in sign language. Charlie is survived by his 3 children - Thomas Britt (Phyllis,) Deborah Brinkley (Cy) and Jane Hines (Paul), 7 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, neighbors’ children, and more beloved friends and co-workers than can be counted. Charlie was predeceased by his wife Marian and his grandson, Chris. A visitation will be held from 5pm to 7pm, Monday, November 16, 2020 at Smith and Williams Funeral Home, 4889 Princess Anne Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23462. A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 1pm at the funeral home. Burial will follow in Forest Lawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be offered to the Retiree’s Assistance Fund, Local #68, 5691 E. Virginia Beach Blvd., Norfolk, Va. 23502. Online condolences may be offered to the family at www.smithandwilliamskempsville.com. All are asked to strictly observe social distancing and all Covid-19 precautions.

  • FAMILY

  • Ruby and Charles Britt, Parents (deceased)
  • Marian, Loving Wife of 45 years (deceased)
  • Chris, Grandson (deceased)
  • Thomas Britt (Phyllis), Son
  • Deborah Brinkley (Cy), Daughter
  • Jane Hines (Paul), Daughter
  • Alsoleft to cherish Charlie's memory are 7 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, neighbors’ children, and more beloved friends and co-workers than can be counted.

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  • PALLBEARERS

  • Mike Nifong, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Gary Rafter , Honorary Pallbearer
  • Chief Mike Brooks , Honorary Pallbearer
  • Robert Cowan
  • Ronnie Spruill
  • Jeffrey Wise
  • Richard Curfman
  • Billy Cross
  • Cully Blount
  • DONATIONS

  • Retirees Assistance Fund Local #68
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Services

  • Visitation

    Monday, November 16, 2020

  • Celebraton of Life

    Tuesday, November 17, 2020

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  • Burial

    Tuesday, November 17, 2020

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Memories

Charles Edward Britt Jr.

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Robert Knaapen

November 20, 2020

I first met Charles some 12 years ago or so at at a garage where we had our cars serviced. sitting beside each other he offered me his newspaper and said "paper?" I answered no thanks, it's all bad news. Over the years i would more often than not meet him at our local in and out store where he would (and never ever ever miss) his buying the local newspaper. 365 days. rain or shine. We never had any real discussions but it was mostly, "it's all your fault with a laugh". When I told him my mothers age which at the time was touching ninety and Charles was then ninety three and I quote "tell her it sucks to get old" He enjoyed saying hi to my two shih tzu who always and still do drive down with me to the same in and out store for my morning paper. Sincere condolences to the family and to all who might have know Charles. He was and always will be a part of me. A very special person who certainly made his mark on this earth. The pups give you a paw shake and I salute you sir.

Carolyn Henderson

November 17, 2020

My deepest sympathy and condolences to the family of Captain Britt. He was such a fine gentleman and his heart was filled with loving kindness. I never ran into him on the job or elsewhere and not seen that kind and gentle heart on display. I used to see him a lot at K&W over the years. I was always glad to see him.
Captain Britt was so easy to admire and I did admire him. I had visited him back in the Spring and we talked for the longest time. He gave me his phone number and said, "I rarely answer it though." He showed me a tribute to him, his picture out in the hallway, and gave me a few details about it. Ever the gentleman, when I left he insisted upon walking me right to the front door.
May Captain Britt rest in eternal peace!

Roy Coulson, Jr

November 16, 2020

To Tommy, Debbie and Jane and their families I offer my sincerest sympathies. Your dad Charlie was a dear friend. We spent many years working together in the Fire Dept. and private jobs. Charlie was loved and respected by so many. He only made friends never an enemy. May God bless you all and bring peace to you and your families. Roy and Joyce Coulson

Barbara Tabor

November 15, 2020

Captain Britt was a wonderful caring man with a beautiful smile. I have known him for most my life. Charlie worked with my father Earl Ruddick in the fire department many years.
When my daughter was little we would go by the old fire station 14 and she would call him "Pretty Boy Britt" and he would laugh and tell me "you need to get that child glasses."
I loved the stories and the time we shared . He will be missed!

Leslie Kight Garrett

November 14, 2020

Charlie, 2000 max is not enough to say all of the happiness he brought to the world and all the love he shared. My dad knew Charlie for most of his adult life. Dad went in the Norfolk Fire Dept in 1948 and the last 10 years or so they had dinner together several nights a week-mostly at K & W cafe. I think one of dad and Charlie's best times together was when they took a road trip to Winchester with Rocky. Rocky drove but made a wrong turn. He didn't listen to Charlie and they went about 100 miles out of the way. But it was ok. The three old firefighters-young at heart and spirit- were together and having a blast. My dad, Lt. T.W. Punchy Kight, my sister Joann Beahm, Ed Johnson, one of the dinner group members, and I will sure miss that smile, the kisses, hugs, and his jokes. He has probably met up for dinner and dessert with the rest of the guys dinner group that were waiting in Heaven. He has joined his loved ones- who waited with open arms. Rest peacefully Charlie. The Kight family love you, a hero and a friend.

Roberta Upton

November 14, 2020

From the Upton Family, we send our prayers and love. Charlie was a fun loving man and a good friend. He worked with our Dad, Quinton Upton, both in the Norfolk Fire Department and in installing awnings, storm doors & windows for Sears. One of my favorite memories was working with my Dad and Charlie during the summer when I was in high school. I'd sit on the lawn putting the awnings together while they did the installation. One day I had to hold the middle of the patio awning while they were installing it. They walked away leaving me holding it and were around the corner of the house waiting to see if I figured out they were done & I could let go. (and laughing). Our houses were across from each other on different streets. After my Dad passed, Charlie would stop by to sit on the porch and talk. He will be missed.

Gliceria Colley

November 14, 2020

I wish I could come to see him for the last time. He was the best neighbor and friend I had ever met. May he Rest In Peace.

Rose & Jim Carlberg

November 14, 2020

Our thoughts and prayers for peace & comfort are with you during this time. He was such a wonderful man, so kind and caring. We were blessed to know him. He was a neighbor and close friend. We loved him so very much. So thankful he was a part of our lives.
Love, Jim, Rose, Jennifer & Nicole

Darlene Jones

November 13, 2020

Mr. Charlie was so special to our family. If not for him, our family would have lost my nephew, Justin, to a house fire. Being a retired firefighter he stepped into a burning house and rescued Justin. No one could get to him, but our hero, Mr. Charlie did.

We are so sorry to hear of his passing. Thank you, his family, for sharing him with our family all these years. We will always love him and he will always have a piece of our heart.

FROM THE FAMILY
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FROM THE FAMILY

Biography

Capt. Charles E. Britt, Jr., 96, succumbed on November 12, 2020 due to injuries received in a recent fall. Raised during the Depression by his grandmother, he was born May 10, 1924 in Salisbury, North Carolina to Ruby and Charles Britt. Charlie volunteered for the WWII draft near the end of his senior year in high school and was inducted into the Navy May 28, 1943. After boot camp he was assigned to LST-128. A plank owner, he remained on her throughout the duration of the war, becoming a Signalman 2nd class. He was involved in supplying troops during some of the fiercest Pacific battles of WWII, including Iwo Jima, Tarawa, Kwajalein, and Saipan. In Norfolk Fire he was stationed with Capt. Johnny Butler for 3 years before finding out that while Charlie was ferrying supplies to troops on Iwo Jima, Johnny Butler had been pinned down on the beaches of Iwo Jima cussin’ the sailors because it was taking so long to get supplies! The war wasn’t something either ever wanted to talk about. Despite all he went through during WWII, he looked back fondly on his years in the Navy.
Charlie was hired by Norfolk Fire Department September 12, 1949 and retired with just shy of 38 years of service to the citizens of Norfolk on July 1, 1987. Once hired, he devoted the rest of his adult life to his family and the fire service. A good firefighter and a respected fire officer, Captain Britt was knowledgeable, a good leader and a fun-loving instigator. His fire service commitment ran deep – in 1997, when he was 73 years old, a late-night fire broke out across the street from his home. Having been alerted by the mother, Charlie ran over, entered the burning building and was able to rescue a 5-year-old boy although 3 other family members perished in the blaze. As a result of his heroic actions, Charlie was selected as a recipient of the Carnegie Medal. Awarded by the international Carnegie Hero Commission, it was founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1904 to recognize “… a civilian who voluntarily risks his or her life to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the life of another person...” As a result, Norfolk Fire-Rescue created the Captain Charlie Britt Life Saving Award. This is the highest award granted by Norfolk Fire-Rescue. An altogether extraordinary life indeed – although he would never say so or even agree.
He and his wife Marian (whom he lost in 1992 after 45 years of marriage) raised 3 children and were devoted to them and their grandchildren including a deaf grandson, Chris, who Charlie delighted in communicating in sign language. Charlie is survived by his 3 children - Thomas Britt (Phyllis,) Deborah Brinkley (Cy) and Jane Hines (Paul), 7 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, neighbors’ children, and more beloved friends and co-workers than can be counted. Charlie was predeceased by his wife Marian and his grandson, Chris.
A visitation will be held from 5pm to 7pm, Monday, November 16, 2020 at Smith and Williams Funeral Home, 4889 Princess Anne Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23462. A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 1pm at the funeral home. Burial will follow in Forest Lawn Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be offered to the Retiree’s Assistance Fund, Local #68, 5691 E. Virginia Beach Blvd., Norfolk, Va. 23502.
Online condolences may be offered to the family at www.smithandwilliamskempsville.com.
All are asked to strictly observe social distancing and all Covid-19 precautions.

Learn more about the Britt name

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