Obituary: Britt Vitols, 1955-2021 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Britt Vitols, 1955-2021 

Tae kwon do "grand master" was a ferocious competitor and generous teacher

click to enlarge Britt Vitols - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Britt Vitols

Britt Joan Vitols (formerly Joan Fishwick), 65, of Essex Junction, Vt., passed away in her home on March 26, 2021.

She was a vibrant force of being, loved and respected by many, and her humor, tenacity, grit and supportive nature will live on in memory.

Born in Springfield, Mass., she grew up in Shelburne, Vt., attended Shelburne Middle School and graduated in the class of 1974 from Champlain Valley Union High School, where she was active in field hockey, basketball and track. She was a loyal friend, there to support and encourage at all times. Her spirit was gentle and kind, and she is recalled by childhood friends as a beautiful, athletic, blond, sunny girl who climbed trees and built forts. She is already greatly missed.

She attended Springfield College in Massachusetts as a social sciences major, also learning to manage and work around a late diagnosis of dyslexia. She helped to run a very popular open mic event at Danny Boys, where she worked as a waitress. She later transferred to the University of Vermont and completed her education in computer sciences, which served her well in a productive career with IBM for many years. As an independent adult, she changed her name to reflect her mother’s heritage and settled in Essex Junction for the remainder of her life.

After moving on from IBM, she explored other employment adventures, including at Vermont Teddy Bear, and eventually settled into her passionate final career as a skilled veterinary technician.

"Grand master" Britt Vitols had a lifelong and dedicated career in tae kwon do. She was one of only a few pioneering women in what was then a male-dominated sphere, and she inspired all who knew her as a ferocious competitor and generous teacher, climbing the ranks and blazing a bright path for other students to follow in her ongoing practice of martial arts. She leaves an enduring legacy with many whose own paths have been shaped from the example and knowledge she shared with grace and abundance, truly embodying the tenants of courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit.

She was many things to many people: a generous and loving friend, sister, adviser, confidant, philanthropist, coworker, sponsor, godmother, vet tech, pet sitter, cat whisperer and fierce champion to all underdogs, humans and animals alike.

Britt is survived by her sister, Diana Douglas of Plainfield, Vt.; her beloved cat Mikhail; and a network of devoted friends.

A memorial celebration of Britt’s life and memory will be held at the United Fighting Arts Institute at a future date to be determined. A formal announcement will be forthcoming once details become available.

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