In Memory of Marilyn Britton

October 11, 2021

remembering slo county agriculture leader marilyn britton

Longtime San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau Executive Director Passed Away October 8, 2021


SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA (October 11, 2021) - San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau is sad to announce the passing of our longtime Executive Director and community leader Marilyn Britton

"SLO County's agricultural community has lost one of its greatest champions and advocates," said Executive Director Brent Burchett. "While our thoughts are with the Britton family on their loss, Marilyn leaves behind a proud legacy of supporting farmers, ranchers and local youth that continues to be felt today and for decades to come."

Marilyn Britton passed away peacefully in her sleep on October 8. 

She had a distinguished career at San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau for over 30 years before retiring as Executive Director in 2001.

Born in 1939 in San Luis Obispo to Albert and Nadine Martin, Marilyn graduated from Atascadero High School in 1957, and from Cal Poly with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics. It was at Cal Poly, in the Mustang Marching Band, where she met her husband Glenn Britton. Marilyn received numerous awards and recognitions for her service to the local agricultural community, including being named the 2018 Agriculturalist of the Year.

Per Marilyn’s wishes, no service will be held. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that expressions of sympathy be made to a cause that was near to Marilyn’s heart, the San Luis Obispo Agricultural Education Committee. 

Established in 1989, the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization works with local teachers and students to raise awareness about the importance of agriculture. Contributions can be mailed to:  San Luis Obispo Agricultural Education Committee, P.O. Box 1916, Templeton, CA 93465.

If you would like to send a card to the Britton Family, please mail it to:  Marilyn Britton, c/o Glenn Britton, 6020 Little Fawn Place, Paso Robles, CA 93449.

Learn more about the life of Marilyn Britton as recorded in 2018 when she was recognized as the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau Agriculturalist of the Year. To download a photo click here.

The San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau, representing its some 1000 members, is proud to recognize a steadfast Farm Bureau member, administrator, community leader, exceptional person, and a friend to generations of farmers, ranchers and agriculturalists, as it honors Marilyn Britton with its 2018 Agriculturalist of the Year Award.

The Agriculturalist of the Year Award is given to a San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau member who has worked for the betterment of agriculture as a whole; someone who has dedicated themselves to outstanding service and devotion to the many fields and diverse commodities of agriculture, is highly regarded by their peers and exemplifies qualities that deserve recognition. It was first awarded in 1988. As an administrator and manager, Marilyn Britton set a benchmark for service; As a member, she set an example for others.

Marilyn Britton is a native of San Luis Obispo County. She was born in San Luis Obispo, in 1939, to Albert and Nadine Martin. She graduated from Atascadero High School in 1957. She graduated from Cal Poly with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics. It was at Cal Poly, in the Mustang Marching Band, where she met Glenn Britton. They were married in June 1959. Glenn is from Willows, California. Glenn and Marilyn made their home in San Luis Obispo County. Their children and grandchildren include: Patty and Tim Robasciotti; Gary and Angie Britton, and their children Nate, Justin, Garrett and Grant; Geoff and Michelle Britton, and their children, Geoff, Gerrod, Cali and Gabi. Marilyn and Glenn are also the proud greatgrandparents of four wonderful great-grandchildren. Marilyn is also extremely proud that she has 4 grandchildren serving in the United States Air Force, United States Marine Corps, and the United States Coast Guard.

Marilyn Britton has lived her life devoted to family and her extended family in agriculture. As a longtime employee of the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau, she was the first to be titled Executive Director. Marilyn has served on numerous committees, guided projects, participated in community events, and devoted countless hours to the business of advocacy and support of our agricultural community. She is widely considered the “Mom of San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau.” Her office was always open to people who needed help or information.

As an administrator and manager, Marilyn set a benchmark for service. As a member, she set an example for others. She began her distinguished career of more than 30 years at the Farm Bureau when she was hired by Leroy McChesney, a dairyman and a legendary leader of local Farm Bureau programs. She proved to be an excellent and dedicated employee. Marilyn was later approved and promoted by the Farm Bureau Board of Directors to become the Farm Bureau manager. Whether she was formally employed at the Farm Bureau or serving as an active member, Marilyn has never turned away from an opportunity to support the people of agriculture. The agricultural community as a whole is stronger because of her dedication and commitment.

Marilyn was not only a Farm Bureau member and manager, but also a member of California CattleWomen, California Cattlemen’s Association, a member of Monday Rotary, Executive Director of the Grain Improvement Association, Edna Farm Center, Farm Bureau Women, and a Director of Coast National Bank. She worked in collaboration with others (including fellow Rotarian Jim Brabeck) to create iconic events and programs, including the Rotary Rural Urban Dinner, which brought together agriculture and business to exchange information and ideas.

As Executive Director, Marilyn set in place the operation and protocol of an ever growing local Farm Bureau. She met challenges and changes as our region developed. She worked with members and directors on important policy recommendations for the Farm Bureau; articulated the rural lifestyle and economic importance of San Luis Obispo County crops; launched tours for the agricultural community to other parts of the state, nation, and internationally. Marilyn, in turn, hosted tours from other countries to showcase our local agriculture.

Marilyn took an active role in the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce Agri-Business tours. She enthusiastically participated in events that respected the community relationships in agriculture, including Cattlemen and Farmers Day at the Mid-State Fair, and a host of other annual gatherings. Without her and Glenn, along with so many other wonderful friends, an important part of any local event - “the Farm Bureau BBQ Trailer” would never have been conceived or maintained.

Marilyn has been honored for her work by numerous entities and organizations over the course of her career. Marilyn and Glenn were inducted in the California Mid-State Fair Hall of Fame in 2012. They shared a San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau “Freddy of the Year Award” in 2002. Marilyn was recognized by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors upon her retirement in 2001 for her accomplishments and service; recognized with a “Strength in Diversity Award” in 1992; and honored as a CattleWomen’s “Cowbelle Mom” in 2002. The awards joined numerous others that continue to have deep meaning for her.

Marilyn says her hometown of Atascadero was a great place to grow up, “It was a small and unique town. It was very special because of the people and wonderful buildings of the early years. Many of the shop owners were part of the E.G. Lewis movement to the area.”

A little known fact is that Marilyn didn’t grow up in agriculture. She credits many people for mentoring her. It resulted in her learning a vast amount of knowledge about commodities, people, legislation and history. Marilyn shared, “I lived in town. I credit Jo Ann Switzer for my love of agriculture, working together on many projects, her knowledge of what makes things tick and working for agriculture’s betterment. She is the finest example of an outstanding educator/ learn-by-doing, person. We love her.”

Her friendships, Farm Bureau relationships, and willingness to help are well known in this community, regionally, and globally. While at Farm Bureau, Marilyn launched the previously mentioned tours for local agriculture with a desire to share the bounty of the county. They were offered to members of the Farm Bureau, Cattlemen, CattleWomen, Farm Centers and more. Marilyn says they were, “A great way to share information with each other. As time went on there were more and more requests to learn about the incredible farming in our midst! The tours blossomed into opportunities to see what was happening in our home area and beyond. Ultimately, we began receiving requests for national and international Ag tours. It was a great way to meet fellow farmers and ranchers throughout the world and to share our common connection for the love of the land.”

Throughout her entire life, Marilyn has worked tirelessly with agriculturalists, earning trust and praise; exemplifying the qualities of leadership, outstanding service and a continued commitment to the betterment of agriculture and its people who farm, ranch and work in the industry, “I have always been so grateful for the support of Ag organizations for working together to showcase our incredibly beautiful San Luis Obispo County Agriculture.”

Because of her decades of outstanding dedication to agriculture and devotion to its people, the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau is honored to recognize Marilyn Britton as its 2018 Agriculturalist of the Year.

Back to News