Cover photo for Richard Berkeley Britton's Obituary
Richard Berkeley Britton Profile Photo
1932 Richard 2018

Richard Berkeley Britton

December 10, 1932 — October 3, 2018

Richard Berkeley Britton, 85, of Charlottesville, Virginia, died of cancer on October 3, 2018, while in the extraordinary care of staff at the Hospice of the Piedmont’s Center for Acute Hospice Care.

Richard (Dick) Britton was born December 10, 1932, in Charlottesville, Virginia, to Sydney William Britton, physician and professor at the University of Virginia Medical School, and Louise Weibel Britton, artist.

Richard became fascinated with cars at a young age, and they remained an important part of his personal and professional life. At age 15, he built a car for only $45 using a Model T chassis, and drove it 2,000 miles to Montreal and back, as covered by “The Daily Progress” on September 7, 1948. One year prior, he represented Charlottesville in the National Soap Box Derby in Akron, Ohio. Inventing improvements to the internal combustion engine, and machining them himself in his machine shop, was a lifelong passion.

He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1953 with a Bachelor of Arts in physics, then served in the United States Army from 1953 to 1955. He returned to the University of Virginia to do graduate work and work for the Research Laboratory for the Engineering Sciences. His work for the Ion Physics Corporation in Burlington, Massachusetts, took the family to the Boston area, and then to Long Island, where he worked on superconducting magnets at Brookhaven National Laboratory. He held several patents in the areas of superconductivity and mechanical design.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by an older brother, John Bayard Britton. He is survived by his son, Eric Britton, and his daughter, Emily Britton, two grandchildren, his sisters Barbara Sedwick and Mary Williams, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Eric and Emily would like to express their gratitude to the friends and hospice staff who offered their father care and kindness at the end of his life.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Hospice of the Piedmont, at

An online guestbook is available at

Ryan Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard Berkeley Britton, please visit our flower store.


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