Longtime Chino Hills resident Donald Ernest Briney, described by his family and friends as smart, industrious, and friendly, passed away June 15, 2021 at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Anaheim.
Mr. Briney, 94, was born in Chicago, Illinois on Aug. 10, 1926.
His late wife was civic leader Sue Briney, who owned a real estate company and was a member of the Chino Hills Incorporation Committee.
They were married for 43 years.
Mr. and Mrs. Briney moved their family of three children to Sleepy Hollow in Carbon Canyon in 1967.
Mr. Briney designed and built his house of adobe brick on Hillside Drive.
He raised cows, goats, chickens, rabbits, and more on his three-acre spread for meat, milk, and cheese.
He had a green thumb and grew vegetables in several gardens on the property as well as flowering plants and fruit trees.
Most of his career was in the aerospace industry working as a design engineer for McDonnell Douglas, Autonetics, Rockwell, and General Dynamics.
Mr. Briney was also a sales representative for Lake Havasu properties and owned and operated a Rayco automotive franchise.
He built a 21-foot feather sailboat to take his family on weekend trips to Catalina.
He bred and sold bassett hounds, built several homes, was an avid investor, and delighted family and friends as the home chef of gourmet foods.
After retiring in 1989, Mr. Briney became involved as a community volunteer. He flipped pancakes for the sheriff’s department on a large portable grill that he built, and handed out snow cones and cotton candy.
He served on the Citizens on Patrol for many years, where he escaped being shot on one occasion.
Mr. Briney gave a static electricity demonstration to Canyon Hills Junior High students with the Wimshurst and the Van De Graaff machines he built.
He assembled a steam-powered tractor from parts he built from scratch.
He was an incurable hobbyist with a long list of projects from raising orchids to making scrimshaws.
His recent projects included completing the welding and placement of a metal gate and rebuilding the diesel engine for his backhoe.
When asked by the doctor on his final day of life if he had any other projects he wanted to work on, he said he wanted to complete the rebuild of the engine for his chipping machine.
Mr. Briney served as a U.S. Army infantryman in World War II.
He was honorably discharged with a Marksman Rifle combat infantry badge, the Victory medal, the American theater ribbon, the European-African occupation medal, and the good conduct medal.
He is survived by his children Patrick Briney of Arkansas, Daniel Briney of San Diego, and Linda Briney-Fernandez of Chino Hills; his grandchildren Nathan, Jason, Devin, Lisa, Andrew, Leland, and Tenille; and his great-grandchildren Alexander, Nicholus, Donny, Charlotte, Leonidas, and Dakota.
A celebration of life will be held today (June 19) at 3 p.m. at Chino Hills Community Center, 14250 Peyton Drive.