Graveside Memorial Service - Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at 10:00am
Holy Hope Cemetery
3555 N. Oracle Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85705
Richard John Britanik, Sr., of Oro Valley, AZ, died at home on Sunday, February 4, 2018. Richard was 85.
Richard was born in Braddock, PA on April 28, 1932, the firstborn of John Milan Britanik and Mary Tomko. He grew up in Braddock and North Braddock, and even though his family did not have much, he enjoyed a very happy childhood. Activities included building model airplanes and fitting them with motor parts, Sunday trips to a park where there was a field to fly the model planes, fishing with his dad, ice skating, roller skating, and car maintenance. Richard (also known as "Dick" by his family and friends, and later as "Rich"), was educated in the St. Thomas schools in Braddock. He received the 8th Grade Rotary Award given for scholarship, leadership, and citizenship, was a class officer during high school, and worked at a drug store and a gas station. He graduated from St. Thomas High School in 1950.
After graduation from high school, Richard worked in a lumbar yard and attended Saturday night dances held at Hartman Junior High. During one of these dances in January, 1952, he met the love of his life and began a courtship with Joan Safran. They dated and spent time with friends, going to movies, bowling, and dances at the outdoor ballroom in Kennywood Park. When the Korean War broke out, and prior to being drafted, Richard entered the Air Force in December, 1952. He and Joan continued their courtship and on April 24, 1954, were married at St. William Catholic Church in East Pittsburgh, PA.
Richard, who became known as "Brit", served in the Air Force for 20 years. He worked on planes on the flight line and was trained in the field of metrology, the calibration of instruments. Besides his tours of duty, including French Morocco, he was stationed in Savannah, GA, where Rick, Jr. and David were born, then Tampa, FL, where Tony and Stephanie were born. Next it was on to San Vito dei Normanni, Italy, where John was born (actually in Tripoli, Libya). The last station was in Chicopee, MA, where Richard retired from the Air Force on December 31, 1972. Richard enjoyed time with his wife and family and shared activities he had enjoyed in childhood, such as fishing and model airplanes, as well as photography, trips to the shooting range, model railroading, and Saturday morning pancakes and cartoons. "Brit and Joanie", along with their growing family, had many adventures together during their Air Force years and made several lasting friendships.
Richard started civilian life with a job at Gould - Ocean Systems Division in Cleveland, OH, where he worked in the metrology lab, ultimately as lab manager, as well as a quality manager, until his retirement in 1993. During his time at Gould (which later became Westinghouse), he completed an associate degree in professional management at John Carroll University. He and Joan had the pleasure of owning their own home, where Richard put his "Mr. Fix-It" skills to good use, spending time on projects and "puttering" in the basement for relaxation.
In June, 1997, Richard and Joan "went west" with a move to Oro Valley, AZ. "Black Bart and Calamity Jane" enjoyed exploring Arizona together and decorating their home and yard with local artwork, pottery, and plants. Richard continued his long time interest in photography, enjoying outdoor photography as well as indoor projects, and joined two photography clubs, where he submitted several prize-winning photos. In later years, he still enjoyed browsing through various photography magazines and books, keeping up with family and friends, the news, weather, and football (especially Clemson), watching westerns, and of course, "chocolate cake".
Richard was a quiet man, kind and gentle even in childhood, a generous man, neat, hard-working and resourceful, had many skills, an "artistic eye", and good sense of humor. He was a devoted and loving husband, father, and grandfather and words cannot express how much he is missed.
Richard is survived by his wife Joan; children Richard (Karen) Britanik, Jr. of The Woodlands, TX, David (Kerry) Britanik of Makakelo, HI, Anthony Britanik of Oro Valley, AZ, Stephanie (Thomas) Stage of South Euclid, OH, and John (Lana) Britanik of Tucson, AZ; grandchildren Monica (James) Jacobi of Los Angeles, CA, Andrea Britanik of The Woodlands, TX, and Ian Britanik; sister Mary Margaret Schildknecht of Canonsburg, PA; sister-in-law Marcene Franz of Oro Valley, AZ; brothers-in-law James Franz of Oro Valley, AZ and Anthony Safran, Jr. of Tucson, AZ; and his cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents, John and Mary Britanik; brother Ronald Britanik; sister-in-law Donna Safran; and brothers-in-law William Schildknecht, Sr. and Patrick Safran, Sr.
A graveside memorial service is scheduled for Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at Holy Hope Cemetery, 3555 N. Oracle Rd., Tucson, AZ.