Beatrice Britton, 84, co-founder of business

April 22, 2002

Beatrice "Bea" Britton, who founded a fire extinguisher and boat systems sales and service company with her husband nearly a half-century ago, died Wednesday of complications from diabetes at her Annapolis home. She died one day before her 85th birthday.

Born Beatrice Vlna, Mrs. Britton married Alfred W. "Dutch" Britton in 1935, the same year she graduated from Annapolis Senior High School.

Mr. Britton was a firefighter, and in the mid-1950s, the couple started Dutch Britton Fire Extinguisher Co. in Annapolis.

After Mr. Britton's death, the couple's daughter Barbara Britton Baxter of Annapolis, took over the company.

In her spare time, Mrs. Britton enjoyed cooking and gardening and watching soap operas, her family said.

She was an intelligent woman who dispensed wisdom to her family, said her daughter Denna Britton of Annapolis.

"She was the glue that held the family together," Ms. Britton said.

Mrs. Britton was a member of the Ladies of the Elks in Annapolis.

Services were Friday.

In addition to her two daughters, she also is survived by a son, Alfred W. "Butch" Britton Jr. of Annapolis; two other daughters, Frances "Bitsy" Furr of Columbia and Lauri Donovan of Arnold; a brother, Vincent Vlna of Annapolis; a sister, Amelia Vlna Mead of Annapolis; 10 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

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