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Dr. Clay Vester Brittain

WILLIAMSBURG - Dr. Clay Vester Brittain, 90, of Toano, VA, beloved husband, father and grandfather, passed on to his well-deserved heavenly reward surrounded by loving family, on Thursday, January 24, 2013. Dr. Brittain is survived by his cherished wife of 50 years, Dr. Mary M. Brittain, of Toano; his son, Mark M. Brittain and fiancée, Kathy Begley, of Toano; his daughter, Eleanor "Nell" Stover, and husband Nathan; grandchildren, Kirsten, Georgia, and Clay "Gus" Stover, of Mineral, VA; his sister, Nannie Lou Moore of Alexandria, AL; and his twin sister, Cleo Springer, of McCalla, AL; as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. A memorial service and interment occurred on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at Hickory Neck Episcopal Church, officiated by Father Henry McQueen. Dr. Brittain was born to Jonas and Mary Brittain, in the family home in Alexandria, AL, the sixth of seven children. He arrived fifteen minutes after his twin sister, Cleo, a fact he enjoyed reminding his "older sister" of frequently. He received his B.S. in Mathematics from Jacksonville State University, AL. As US involvement in WWII grew, he joined the naval reserves. He was put on active duty and was sent to Midshipman's School in New York, where he was commissioned an Ensign. He was stationed in San Diego, CA for the duration of the war, and fondly recounted seeing preparations being made for a visit from President FDR, and caught a quick glimpse of the president as he boarded a battleship. Upon separating from the Navy in 1946, he began his educational pursuit of his Master's and then his Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of Chicago. Dr. Brittain taught psychology and education courses at Jacksonville State University, AL and Emory University, Atlanta, GA. While at Emory, he met the love of his life, Mary Theresa McDonald, who was pursuing her Master's degree at Emory. They married in 1962. During his distinguished professional career, Dr. Brittain was the author and co-author of numerous articles published in professional journals. He worked for the U.S. Children's Bureau and the U.S. Office of Education in Washington D.C. as a Research Analyst. He was then an Education Specialist for the U.S. Armed Forces Institute in Madison, WI serving as Deputy Director of USAFI and Chief of Directorate of Research and Education. He transferred to Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN, where he was the Chief of Research and Analysis Branch. From 1975 until his retirement in 1995, Dr. Brittain worked for the Individual Training Support Directorate, Army Training Support Center, Ft. Eustis, VA. His many leadership positions included Chief of Research Office, Chief of Evaluation Branch, Chief of Schools Branch, Acting Chief of Training Evaluation and Assistance Division and Chief of Assessment Division. Above all things, Dr. Brittain cherished and held dear his family. If life were to be compared to a tightrope walk, he would be the net underneath, ready to catch any family member or neighbor who might fall. In honor of his memory, the family suggests that you consider incorporating some of Dr. Brittain's principles into your life. Spend quality time with those you love, work hard, avoid debt, plan for the future, find a church that you love and attend as often as you can, be active, have high expectations of yourself and those around you, always be truthful and expect the same. A little bit of a stubborn streak will keep people on their toes. A memorial donation may be made in his name to his beloved Hickory Neck Episcopal Church, 8300 Richmond Road, Toano, VA 23168. The family would like to extend our sincere appreciation to the staff of Spring Arbor, Williamsburg, Hospice Community Care, Newport News, and Dr. Bruce Mayer, for their care and compassion shown to Dad and the family during this difficult time. Online condolences may be expressed at www.nelsencares.com.

Published in Daily Press on Feb. 3, 2013
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