Cover photo for Edmund Britt's Obituary
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Edmund Britt

d. February 18, 2021

Edmund Britt

Edmund Britt, Age 70 of Wakefield, MA died February 18, 2021 from complications due to Alzheimer's disease.

He was predeceased by his father, John O'Donnell Britt, stepfather, John William Surra Jr., and mother, Ann Maureen Surra. He leaves his devoted wife of 44 years, Lillian Little, and two loving daughters, Rachel Britt-Little and her partner, Frank L. Hammond III, of Atlanta, GA and Ali Molloy and her husband, Tyler, of Topsfield, MA. Ed was also the beloved "Grampy" to Declan Molloy. He leaves five siblings, David T. Britt (Kickie), Kenneth D. Britt, James M. Surra, Scott R. Surra (Becky), and Sandra M. Surra Rinchik (William). Ed is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.

Ed was born on August 21, 1950 in Buffalo, NY. He was raised in upstate New York, graduating from Guilderland High School in 1968. He went on to obtain a bachelor's degree in Industrial Design from Syracuse University, where he met his future wife, and graduated in 1973.

Ed and Lillian moved to Wakefield, MA in 1980 where they raised their daughters. He was a devoted husband and hands-on dad. Whether it was attending school events, helping with projects, or ensuring he was home for nightly dinners, Ed always put his family first.

He was a skilled industrial designer and designed products ranging from consumer goods to medical equipment. He was employed by Digital Equipment Corporation as well as a design consulting firm and eventually opened his own industrial design consulting firm, Edmund Britt & Co. In addition to his love for his family, Ed's passion in life was music. He was a world-renowned banjo historian and collector as well as a gifted player of both banjo and guitar. He loved being part of the banjo community, attending events and sharing his knowledge. He displayed his banjo playing skills at the annual Banjo and Fiddle Contest in Lowell, MA, winning multiple times. Ed was heavily involved in the Boston folk music scene. He was one of the founders of the Linden Tree Coffeehouse in Wakefield in 1985 and ran their sound system for decades. He was a member of the Blunt Instruments, a folk quartet that played at a variety of community events and were regulars at the Linden Tree. Ed combined his professional skills and love for music by designing beautiful instruments for the OME Banjo Company and C. F. Martin & Company. After retiring, Ed enjoyed spending time with his musician friends, street performing in Harvard Square and playing at the Wakefield and Melrose farmers markets.

Several years ago, following a health scare, Ed shared the following quote with friends, which summarizes how he lived his life: "I've simply tried to go through my life leaving the world a better place than I found it -and hopefully having helped more people than I hurt." Ed was never shy to show his love to those around him. The best way to honor Ed's memory is to reach out and tell the people in your life how much they mean to you. Ed's kindness, creativity, interest in others, and enthusiasm for life touched many people. He will be greatly missed by family and friends.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date once it is safe to gather. Donations may be made in his memory to the Alzheimer's Association at
Arrangements in the care of McDonald Funeral Home, Wakefield. Guestbook available at

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