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John Bright Totten

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John Bright Totten Obituary
December 29, 1925 - December 24, 2015 John Bright Totten was born on December 29, 1925 in Birmingham England to Rupert and Mabel Totten. On December 24, 2015 John passed peacefully with his ever loving and devoted wife Sybil and family at his side. John lived a vibrant and amazing life of accomplishments though he came from a difficult childhood. John's mother died when he was 4 years of age after which he was a child of the streets. At the age of 12 he was sent by the British government to live in an orphanage known as Fairbridge Farms, Perth Australia. At the age of 16 he survived an abysmal 2 years living in a corrugated shed measuring 10 x 10 but with his huge intellect and heart he self taught himself the new field of wireless. At 19 he joined the RAAF which offered him a path to self sufficiency. In 1949 he joined on for a 2 year expedition to the Antarctica known as the Discovery 2 that traced the path of explorer Scott. Following this experience he began working for Marconi Corporation in Chelmsford England where he met and within 6 months married the love of his life Sybil Audrey Matthews. Immediately after the wedding John and Sybil with a few English Pounds in their pocket moved to Toronto Canada to begin a new life. John took on a position at Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) to develop and fix the newfangled invention known as television. At CBC John was known as an innovator and problem solver; his mind never stopped creating solutions to intractable problems. In 1960 he built an intercom system for CBC that was dubbed the "Totten Box" that's a testament to the resilience of everything he built for it was not retired until the year 2000. John was a devoted Husband and Father of Robert, Bruce and Steven all born while they were in Canada. He spent many an early morning freezing through watching his boys play outdoor hockey. Each winter without fail when the weather turned cold, John would be in the backyard creating the family ice rink. John hated the cold weather; thus when ABC offered him a job in sunny Southern California, he said to his family, we're going to California. In 1965, he purchased a 14 ft trailer, and the family of 5 (plus the family cat), travelled across the USA to ultimately putting down roots in Los Angeles. John retired in 1987 to pursue with Sybil their shared passions for traveling, tennis, dancing, the opera and darts. John had a motto in life "just try and never give up". He was a formidable opponent on the tennis court playing well into his 80's. His energy was boundless and his enthusiasm for life and all its challenges contagious. He would dance with Sybil till wee hours of the night. If you needed a hand John was always there with a helping hand and he would not leave until the task at hand was finished. Every day was a joyous adventure, sitting still was not in John's vocabulary - John lived life to the fullest. He made every moment in his life count until he had to give up because of his failing health. John will be deeply missed by Sybil his wife of 61 years, sons Robert, Bruce, Steven; and daughter-in-laws, Debra, Kim and Myra; and grandchildren Jennifer, Jessica, Kristine, Sabrina, Rachel, Michael, Marilyn and great-grandson Benjamin. There will be no services.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Dec. 27, 2015
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