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Obituaries

Allen Perdue BrittonAllen Perdue Britton, former dean of the School of Music died Feb. 17 in DeKalb, Ill. He was 88.

Britton (File photo by Bob Kalmbach, U-M Photo Services)

Britton began his career at U-M in 1949 after serving in the U.S. Army in World War II. He began as a lecturer in education and an assistant professor of music. A year later he received his doctoral degree in musicology from U-M and became an associate professor of music. He served as dean from 1971-1979.

"Allen Britton was a masterful dean of the School of Music with a wide range of musical and educational interests," says Karen Wolff, current dean. "I note especially his contribution to our understanding of music practices in early America. It was he who brought to the attention of the scholarly community the uniquely American system of teaching people to read music with shape notes. Indeed, the impetus he gave to the study of American music at the University of Michigan set the stage for the great strength in this field that the school enjoys today. We will long be indebted to his foresight."

Britton was active in various professional and civic organizations, including the Ann Arbor Rotary Club, University Musical Society, Interlochen Center for the Arts and Musical Youth International. He was founding editor of the Journal of Research in Music Education and general editor of the textbook series, "Foundations of Music Education."

He also served on the editorial board of the Music Educators Journal. Britton was the author of more than 100 articles and reviews published in a variety of journals. Among his honors was induction into the Music Educators National Conference Hall of Fame in 1986, awarded for his outstanding contributions to American music education.

"He set the standard for scholarship and research in music education," says Paul Boylan, dean of the School of Music from 1979-2000.

Survivors include his wife, Veronica (Wallace) Britton of DeKalb, a sister, two nieces and two nephews.

A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Hampshire, Ill .A U-M memorial service will be at 3:30 p.m. April 19 in Britton Recital Hall, which was named for the deceased.

Memorial contributions may be made to the School of Music.

 

Loren (Biff) Barritt

Loren (Biff) Barritt, professor emeritus, School of Education (SoE), died at age 66 Feb. 26 in Ann Arbor, surrounded by his family and friends. Prof. Barritt, who is fondly remembered by his colleagues and students, began teaching in the SoE in 1964, and continued until his retirement in 2000. He found great joy and fulfillment as a teacher of teachers and remained a student himself all of his life.
Barritt (Courtesy School of Education)

"Biff was highly regarded by his peers and always a faculty leader," said Cecil Miskel, former dean of the School of Education. "He maintained a close relationship with Ann Arbor teachers, meeting with them regularly and seeking their input on current cutting-edge educational thought. Biff was a positive force in education."

Barritt was an effective and faithful advocate for student concerns in the SoE, in the University at large, and in the public schools. His ethnographic research in classrooms in the Netherlands and the U.S. was one of the pioneering efforts for the school in the use of qualitative research. In his research, teaching and faculty service, Barritt was known for listening to and promoting the voices of others, especially those who might not otherwise be heard.

"Biff was someone I could always count on to tell me exactly how he felt about what was going on around him, from the time I was a young faculty member through his service on the school's Executive Committee after I was named dean," said Karen Wixson, current SoE dean. "He brought an important perspective to our faculty deliberations and energized our conversations with his care, compassion and strong convictions. His untimely passing is a great loss to his family, friends and colleagues."

Barritt was involved in the life of the school and in the larger educational community in Ann Arbor. He had a great respect for the skills and commitment of his public school teacher friends and colleagues. Recently, he was a member of the Jackson Social Welfare Committee of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Ann Arbor, where he brought his passion for social justice and education, his insights and his organizational skill.

"His enthusiasm and belief in public education were both refreshing and enlightening to his many students," said Malcolm Lowther, professor emeritus of education. "The vigorous stance on educational issues he adopted, even as a young faculty member, stemmed from strong conviction and improved the quality of educational discourse in the School of Education."

Barritt is survived by his wife of almost 46 years, Marjorie Rabe Barritt, and by his children Lauren, her husband Michael, and their daughters Alison and Julia; by Matthew and his wife Carolyn; and by Suzanne, her husband Dean, and their sons Elijah and Ean. Also surviving is his sister Judy.

He was born June 21, 1936 in Mount Vernon, N.Y., and moved to the Midwest to attend Blackburn College in Carlinville, Ill., in 1954, where he met Marjorie the following year. He received a Ph.D. in educational psychology in 1964 from Indiana University.

Contributions in Barritt's memory may be made to the Jackson Social Welfare Committee of the First Unitarian Universalist Church or to Peace Neighborhood Center, 1111 N. Maple Rd., Ann Arbor, MI, 48103. The family is planning a memorial picnic at Gallup Park on June 21, which would have been his 67th birthday.

 

Robert R. Miller

Robert R. Miller, emeritus professor of zoology (later biology), passed away Feb. 10. Miller was an important figure in American ichthyology and conservation from 1940 to the present.

He was a graduate student at U-M and collaborator with the late Carl Hubbs, professor of zoology. Miller married Hubbs' daughter, Frances, in 1940. She was an important contributor to his research program until her death in 1987. The Miller children, Gifford, Francis, Roger, Ben and Lawrence also were important contributors to his work, along with many graduate students who were welcomed into the ichthyological family over the years. All were made to feel part of a tradition of lasting importance to natural history.

Miller was a curator in the Museum of Zoology from 1948 until his retirement in 1987. He published more than 300 contributions to ichthyology and conservation, beginning with systematic and experimental studies of the pupfishes, Cyprinodon, in Death Valley, and continuing with studies of fishes of western United States and Mexico. He actively worked on trout, minnows, suckers, live-bearers and sculpins, and pioneered work in karyology, hybridization, fossil fishes and experimental studies. His call for conservation in 1961: "Man and the changing fish fauna of the American Southwest," and his list of "Extinct, rare, and endangered American freshwater fishes," were the beginnings of the American fish conservation movement.

Miller received his doctoral degree from U-M in 1944. He served as ichthyological editor of Copeia from 1950-55; chairman of the Endangered Species Committee of the American Fisheries Society, 1969-71; chairman of the Desert Fishes Council, 1974-76; chairman of the Freshwater Fish Group, IUCN, 1965-79; and president of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in 1965. He received the Award of Excellence in 1975 and the Golden Membership Award in 1992 from the American Fisheries Society. In 1989, he was elected an honorary member of La Sociedad Mexicana de Zoologia, and in 1990 was elected Distinguished Fellow of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. He was given the Robert H. Gibbs Memorial Award from the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in 1994.

A small family service was held in Ann Arbor. A memorial gathering also is scheduled for April. Information on the memorial can be found by going to: http://ummz1.ummz.lsa.umich.edu/staff/pages/miller.html

The family has endowed a memorial fund to support graduate student research. Contributions may be mailed to: Robert R. Miller Memorial Fund, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, 1109 Geddes Ave., Ann Arbor, 48109-1079.

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