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Edgerton woman dies in Ohio crash

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Stacy Vogel
August 20, 2009

If there's any consolation to Jay Brittan, it's that his wife died after an enjoyable, relaxing week with her family.


Edgerton resident Catherine Brittan, known to friends and family as Cathy, died Friday in a car crash on the way home from a vacation on the East Coast. She was 35.


"I guess it's gratifying to know that the last week of her life was one she really looked forward to, the vacation, and she enjoyed it," said Jay, Cathy's husband of 11 years.


Cathy, Jay and their two daughters, Marissa, 10, and Olivia, 8, were driving through Ohio on Friday after vacationing at Niagra Falls; Hershey, Pa.; and Pittsburgh. Cathy was driving when their SUV crossed the centerline at about 10:10 a.m. on Highway 20 in Williams County, striking a semitrailer truck, said a spokeswoman with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.


The accident report doesn't say why the SUV crossed the centerline, the spokeswoman said. Jay was sleeping before the crash and doesn't know how it happened, he said.


Cathy was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Jay, Marissa and Olivia all were taken to hospitals but only received bruises and cuts, Jay said.


"Nothing that we're not going to heal from," he said. "It's just the emotional scars that could take a while."


The driver of the semitrailer, Robert M. Garland, 49, Tecumseh, Mich.. was taken to a hospital with "incapacitating" injuries, said the patrol spokeswoman.


Cathy grew up in Dubuque, Iowa. The Brittans moved to Edgerton nine years ago after Cathy was offered a manager position at the Janesville Ponderosa, Jay said. At the time of her death, she was working as a teller at Chase Bank and part-time at Ponderosa, he said.


She was a Girl Scout leader and member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Edgerton.


Jay described Cathy as fun, friendly and generous. She met a lot of people at Ponderosa, he said.


"Her personality just shone through, through her job," he said. "Everyone that knew her liked her. I don't think there was a person who didn't


"Above everything else, I would have to say she was dedicated to the family, bar none."


Funeral services and burial will take place Friday in Iowa, where her family lives, Jay said. St. Joseph's in Edgerton will hold a short memorial for Cathy during a service in November, he said.


Online condolences can be left for Cathy's family at www.behrfuneralhome.com.

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