Life Story / Obituary
With a vibrant personality and a heart made of gold, Robert Britton was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. He was a man of many special interests but it was evident in every way that his family meant the world to him. There simply wasn’t anything that he wouldn’t do for each and every one of them! Over the years, their tradition of Sunday family dinners grew to include an additional table. The more the merrier, as his heart was most content any time he was surrounded by his loved ones. His genuine and good-natured ways of showing affection as well as his terrific sense of humor will forever be remembered by all who knew and loved him.
The 1940s were characterized by WWII. By 1947, some of the most significant inventions that would impact lives for many years to come were created including the Transistor and the Mobile Phone. That same year, Robert was born to a set of hard-working parents on December 10th in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His father, William, worked at the paper mill and his mother, Sheila (Zudweg), was primarily a homemaker. Born the oldest of four children, his birth brought his parents great joy.
Robert grew up during a time where kids were still known to gather together in the neighborhood for a game of baseball or pick up basketball. Athletic in nature, he perfected his talents on the courts and the fields during his high school years. Graduating from the Class of 1966 from Gull Lake High School, he went to work at Georgia Pacific paper mill before enlisting with the United States Air Force. After he was discharged he returned to the paper mill and used some of his GI money to take classes. Following in his father’s footsteps, he made a lifelong career with the paper mill for a remarkable thirty-two years.
Hard at work in the late sixties, a special lady, Nancy Hapeman, caught his eye in a local store. Smitten with her bright smile and warm personality, they dated and later joined in marriage. Settling down together, they raised five wonderful children; Sandi, Sindy, Michael, Valerie, and Matthew. Sadly, their son, William passed away only eight days after birth in 1975. He and Nancy were devastated yet leaned on the support of their special friends and family to help them through a difficult time. While Nancy could work her way around the kitchen and manage the household, Robert coached baseball and little league over the years. He could muster up a cooked hot dog if they were in a pinch but left the cooking to Nancy. When it came time for home projects or repairs, however, Robert was quite the handyman! There wasn’t anything that he couldn’t fix or get working again in order to save them time and the resources they would rather use for vacations! As a family, they enjoyed traveling all over the country together in motorhomes over the years. They would outgrow models, often needing more space, yet never outgrew their love of camping and spending quality time together. Even as their family grew to have roughly twenty people at a time on a trip, it didn’t matter, as long as they were having fun!
As much as he loved his work at the mill and his role as a father, Robert felt deeply blessed when his grandchildren arrived. A proud grandpa to his eight grandchildren; Andrew, Alexander, Anthony, Ryan, Mitchell, Kayla, Jackson, and Anna, he relished in every opportunity to witness their success. Robert made every effort to never miss a single sporting event and was thrilled to be credited with teaching each of his own children and grandchildren to take their first steps! One tradition he savored was planting a tree in the family yard for each member of his abundant family. His great grandson, Lincoln Robert, who is expected to be born soon, already has an oak tree picked out and waiting for his arrival behind the barn! Described as a mentor, a coach, and his family’s biggest fan, he will be sorely missed by his loved ones. Surely, Robert’s greatest legacy that he leaves behind is the family he so deeply loved. May they honor his memory by living their lives to the fullest!
Robert William Britton, of Kalamazoo, Michigan passed away on Thursday, August 1, 2019, at the age of 71. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, their children; Sandi Wishart, of Kalamazoo; Sindy (Bridget Biggs) Britton, of AZ; Michael (Stephanie) Britton, of Plainwell; Valerie (Kevin) Burd, of WI; Matthew Britton, of Portage; Son-in-law, George Wishart, of Plainwell; eight grandchildren: Andrew (Carrie) Wishart; Alexander Wishart, Anthony (Beth Shaw) Wishart, Ryan Britton, Mitchell Britton, Kayla Burd, Jackson Burd, Anna Burd; and one great grandson, Lincoln on the way. He is also survived by his siblings: Sharon (Mike) Howard, of Plainwell; Stephen (Lynn) Britton, of Lawton; Randy (Caroline) Britton, of Kalamazoo. He was preceded in death by his son, William Britton in 1975. The family will receive friends on Monday, from 4 to 7 pm at the McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Home, Marshall-Gren Chapel, 120 S. Woodhams, Plainwell (269-685-5881). The funeral service will be held on Tuesday at 11 am at the funeral home. Please visit Bob’s webpage at www.mccowensecord.com where you can sign the guestbook and share a memorial. Those who wish may make contributions to the West Michigan Cancer Center, Wings of Hope Hospice, and/or Lending Hands.