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Community Loses Much Loved Activist PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 08 May 2014 05:39

Obituary for
Marjorie Britt
September 7, 1922 – April 29, 2014

Marjorie (Margie) Britt, 91, resident of San Fernando passed away peacefully in her home of over 50 years on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 4:30 pm. She was surrounded by long-time neighbors and dear friends. The daughter of Albert and Ida Frances (Mayerson) Gould, Margie was born on September 7, 1922 in Brooklyn, New York. Her family moved to Rhode Island where she and her younger sister, Helen, were raised and educated. After returning to New York to attend Briarcliff College (from 1940- 42), Margie married former U.S. Naval officer, John Ruffin Britt on June 12, 1943. The couple had two sons, William Ruffin (born in November 1945) and John Albert (born in October 1946), and in 1953, the family purchased and moved to a home in San Fernando. John Ruffin worked as a machinist with Stainless Steel Products in Burbank, and Margie worked as a special education teaching assistant for the Los Angeles Unified School District where she retired after 18 years. She also wrote a regular column in the local paper called, “Marge’s World”. Both John Ruffin and Margie quickly became immersed in volunteerism and politics in the community, passions that would remain with Margie for the rest of her life. John Ruffin passed away on Thanksgiving Day in 1969 from lung cancer. He was the love of Margie’s life, and she knew there would not be another.

Margie loved San Fernando and its residents, and was actively involved in various community organizations. She was President of the San Fernando Democratic club, President and Treasurer of the Sylmar-San Fernando Coordinating Council, Board member of the YWCA, Commissioner of the San Fernando City’s Parks and Recreation, and was a Scout Leader for both the Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts. Margie also received various honors including Lifetime Membership awards from the Mexican American Political Association and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary. She was the first woman to run for City Council in 1970, and was just a few votes shy of winning. In 1997, Margie was selected as Woman of the Year of the 39th Assembly District by the Los Angeles County Democratic Central Committee and received certificates of recognition from US Representative Howard Berman, State Senator Herschel Rosenthal, State Assemblyman Richard Katz, and Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon. One of the highlights in Margie’s community activism was meeting Cesar Chavez whose cause of social justice and equality was one she championed.

By far, though, the most important thing in life to Margie was her family. She was proud of her Jewish parents who provided her with a loving home and who instilled in her a strong sense of priorities about right and wrong as well as the values of respect, understanding, acceptance, tolerance, and compassion for others, regardless of their race, sexual orientation, or religion. She was actively involved in the upbringing and education of her children and grandchildren, who meant everything to her. When asked about her greatest accomplishment, Margie was quoted as saying, “No hesitation there. Having five people who are part of my family- my children and grandchildrenwho are decent human beings. Not perfect, but decent human beings.”

Margie’s hobbies and interests included politics, world affairs, youth activities, family and community activities, reading, theatre, dancing, museums, and art. She was an extroverted, fiercely independent, intellectual, honest and kind person who loved people. She was always helpful to others, caring, and selfless and described herself as being completely involved with family, friends, community, and the world around her. Margie is survived by her two sons, William Ruffin and John Albert, three grandchildren, Patricia (and spouse Moritz) Wohanka, Ruth Ann Britt, and John (and spouse Milagros) Britt, and five greatgrandchildren, Nevada Smithe, Brenda Britt, Arizona Shea, Bryan Britt, and Bradley Britt.

Throughout the years, Margie made it clear that she did not want to have any sort of memorial service or ceremony after her death. In one of her letters written several years ago, she wrote, "Dying is an important event - I want the least stress on everyone as possible - No Service - I don't want some strange priest, minister, rabbi, or whatever reciting platitudes over me - just remember me however anyone wishes and that I tried to do right by all - Do not be pressured into a service - It's not necessary - When people express sympathy to you, acknowledge it for they mean well." Although Margie was very much loved by her family and many wonderful friends, many of whom have been asking about a service, the family will honor Margie’s final wish to not have one. Per her arrangement and request, Margie’s ashes were spread at sea by the Neptune Society. For those of you who knew Margie or were fortunate enough to be her friend, kindly keep her in your thoughts, and remember her for the unique, strong-willed, generous, and truly spectacular human being that she was.

One of Margie’s favorite poems “A Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow reads, in part,

“Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 08 May 2014 16:33