Father John Wright died in Powell, Wyoming on Saturday, May 23, 2015. He was born John Anthony Wright, the adoptive son of Fred and Pauline (Gilmore) Wright, in Corpus Christi, Texas, on November 25, 1931.
He grew up primarily in Texas. Beginning about the tenth year of his life, he spent weekends and summers at the large ranch of family friends, the Gallaghers. They became a second family to John and remained life-long friends. According to Father Wright, his time with them convinced him that a rural life was what he wanted and needed.
In 1951 he entered the Benedictine Monastery of Subiaco Abbey, in Subiaco, Arkansas. Father was ordained a priest on May 26, 1956. He then went to St. Louis University and received his degrees in mathematics and secondary school administration. On December 17, 1960 he became the Principal at the same school that he graduated from - Corpus Christi Academy.
In 1968 he left the Benedictines and came to Wyoming. This was his opportunity to serve in small, rural towns. His initial attraction to Wyoming was to be closer to the outdoors and recreational opportunities like rodeos and hunting. He was stationed at the Cathedral in Cheyenne, and at St. Laurence O'Toole in Laramie. He was Pastor of St. Anthony's in Upton; Our Lady of Peace in Pinedale; Our lady of the Mountains in Jackson; St. Joseph's in Cheyenne; and St. Barbara's in Powell. He also served Our Lady of the Valley in Clark. Father Wright's moves to rural parishes gave him satisfaction with his life, and a growing joy in the love he both received and was able to return.
After a stroke in 1999, Father Wright retired from active ministry and continued to live in Powell until his death.
Father Wright's enthusiasm for living fully was obvious. The priesthood was his primary interest, but he liked to dabble in doing things that were different. He was a Ham radio operator, and a pilot, and he spent his leisure time playing golf and tennis, hunting, rowing a single scull, and working with horses. As one of his friends said, "Father Wright was a pretty good team roper, but a darn good Padre!" He brought many people to the Catholic Church because of his various interests. In his retirement years music became a big part of his life. He enjoyed playing his guitar and violin, and being part of the musical group, "The Travelers". He enjoyed the staff and residents of The Heartland, where he resided during his retirement years.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and a brother and sister. He is survived by his sister-in-law, many nieces and nephews, and many friends.
A vigil service, followed by the rosary for Father Wright will take place on Tuesday, May 26, at 7:00 p.m. The funeral mass will follow on Wednesday, May 27, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Barbara's in Powell. Interment will be in Crown Hill Cemetery immediately following the mass. He wished to have the following placed on his tombstone: "He tried to be strong, loving, and wise, but sometimes he was weak, selfish, and dumb." Memorial donations may be made to: St. Joseph's Society for Priests, c/o Leo Riley & Company, 141 S. Center Street, Suite 200, Casper, WY 82601.
Please pray for the repose of his soul.
â€œEternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen."
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