Jimmy Britt (Bellingham)

From BoxRec
Jump to: navigation, search
photo

Name: Jimmy Britt
Alias: Harold Useldinger
Birth Name: Harold Vern Useldinger
Born: 1911-09-07
Birthplace: Tacoma, Washington, USA
Died: 1996-11-27 (Age:85)
Hometown: Bellingham, Washington, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 5′ 8½″   /   174cm
Boxing Record: click

Division: Welterweight
Managers: Fred Bruny, Dave Miller
Photo of Britt at age 51, Photo of Britt at age 80, Photo #4

Biography

Britt in 1935

Jimmy Britt (born Harold Vern Useldinger) was a popular fighter in the hey-day of American Pacific Northwest boxing during the 1920s and 1930s.

He had been born in Tacoma, Washington. He lived in Idaho for 12 years before his family moved to Bellingham, WA, where he attended Whatcom High School. His given name was Harold Vern Useldinger. (Later, his brother-in-law was Eddie Congden--a musician and composer. Britt had married Congden's sister Elizabeth.) Per the Bellingham Evening News of April 25, 1931, his parents were Mr. & Mrs Pete Useldinger, of 2801 Kulshan St., Bellingham. (His parents, by 1934, owned a 5,000 chicken ranch in Chehalis, WA.) He had a magazine-dealer route in Bellingham.

According to the Sept. 8, 1934 Tacoma News Tribune, he had used his real name for his first few fights, but announcers, reporters and fans would constantly get it wrong. So he took the name "Jimmy Britt"--probably from the famous American West Coast boxer of the same name.

Britt was an early friend, and eventual stable-mate, of Freddie Steele, who went on to become Middleweight World Champion. (Steele had won the first of their four bouts together--which was Steele's pro debut; they fought to a draw three other times.)

Britt’s first manager and trainer was Fred Bruny. Later he came under the management of Dave Miller, manager of Freddie Steele. In many newspaper articles, Britt was described as a "policeman" for Steele: "Beat Britt, [Then] Fight Freddie." Management under Dave Miller brought many important fights in Britt's career, but Miller was grooming Freddie Steele. Steele had the knockout punch and Britt realized he was at a dead-end in the Miller stable.

Britt moved to San Francisco where he waited out his contract with Dave Miller. He began managing nightclubs and eventually owned a bar, Jimmy Britt's Louver at 140 Eddy Street in San Francisco. In 1944 he was drafted into the Navy. He boxed on the Bainbridge, MA Navy team and eventually taught boxing as well as refereeing. His final station was in San Bruno, CA where he was discharged with a Spc. A 1st Class rating. In 1947 Jimmy and his family moved to Guerneville, California where he opened his cocktail lounge on the Russian River. (Neon image of Britt's lounge sign.) He and Bette (Elisabeth) divorced in 1952. Britt lived the rest of his life in Guerneville, CA, and retired from his business in 1979. His second wife, Sally, passed away in 1981. He married again to Rose Schultz and lived on the Russian River until his death.

Jimmy Britt passed away November 27, 1996 in Sebastopol, California. He was 85. His son, Jim Britt, a photographer in Los Angeles, survives him (as of 2006), as well as his brother, Ray Useldinger.