May 1 1918 May 26 2020
Obituary William Roscoe Wright left this world on the evening of Tuesday, May 26th. Having celebrated his 102nd birthday on May 1st, he passed away just as he wished; peacefully at home, surrounded by family. Born to Earl James Wright and Mabel Currie Wright on a farm in Hamilton, ND during the Influenza Epidemic of 1918, Mr. Wright was a courtly gentleman of the old-school; kindly, courteous and respectful to all. After serving in the ROTC and captaining the Rifle Team for three award-winning years, Mr. Wright graduated from the University of Idaho and immediately went into the Army for the duration of WWII, teaching jungle survival courses for troops bound for the Pacific Theater and acting as a liaison with the Brazilian military in the immediate aftermath of the war, being honorably discharged with the rank of Captain. The GI Bill provided the means to continue his studies at the University of Michigan, from which he received his Master’s degree in Plant Pathology, enabling him to embark on a career with the USDA, studying diseases of fruits and vegetables and ultimately assisting in developing methods by which produce could be safely transported to market, arriving fresh and disease-free for consumption by the general public. An enjoyable study in contrasts, Mr. Wright could read and comprehend “The Canterbury Tales” in its original Middle English, yet developed a knack after his 100th birthday for having a corny joke eminently suitable for any occasion or situation. An avid cribbage player since WWII, he still had to be frequently saved by his opponents, who would count up his cards for him to ensure he wasn’t cheating himself out of valuable points. As a child of the Great Depression, he volunteered at the age of 94 for the Second Harvest Food Bank of East TN to ensure that families could find relief from hard times and empty larders. A quiet man who often preferred the solitary life, he nonetheless stepped up to hold several offices in the Fathers’ Club at his daughter’s high school. Though one of the gentlest of souls to tread the earth, he was still a dab hand with a hunting knife and could bring down a dead and dangerous tree limb high above the yard with only two well-placed bullets. And, while a healthy eater who counted carbs and fat grams, he could always be counted on to overindulge on pie a la mode and to whip up a batch of creatively flavored and extremely smooth fudge for any occasion. Living alone after becoming a widower in 2009, Mr. Wright proudly maintained his own home and yard until his death, doing his own cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping and pruning — though remaining blissfully ignorant of the proper time of year in which to prune various shrubs. Those who had the pleasure to make his acquaintance knew a man possessed of a quiet and dry sense of humor, a temper that flared only when faced with injustice and intolerance, and the ability to make all in his presence feel as though time had slowed down and there was room to breathe and engage in the pleasantries of small talk and kindly concern for others. Those who never met the man missed the chance to bask in the warmth of a gentleman of a bygone era, the likes of which shall never be seen again. He is predeceased by his wife, Aurelia Smigielska Wright, parents, brother, nephew and many cousins. He is survived by his daughter, Joan Wright Boyd and son-in-law Gary John Boyd, cousins Norval Wright and Ethel Wright Huckaby, beloved brother-in-law Eugene Smigielski, cousin-in-law Marcella Mielcarek Sarkozy and many friends, both in Knoxville and Chicago. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to either Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, 136 Harvest One, Maryville, TN 37801, www.secondharvestetn.org or The Wright Family Scholarship, Resurrection College Preparatory High School, 7500 W Talcott Ave., Chicago, IL 60631, www.reshs.org To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William Roscoe Wright please visit our Tribute Store. Events There are no events scheduled. You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or plant a tree in memory of William Roscoe Wright. Visit the Tribute Store Memorial Contributions Second Harvest Food Bank 136 Harvest Lane, Maryville, Tennessee 37801 (865) 243-8242 Visit website
Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of William Roscoe Wright May 1 1918 May 26 2020.
Death notice for the town of: Knoxville, state: Tennessee