Our Family Legacy
Wilbur Glenn Wright
Wilbur Glenn Wright was a strong willed, independent, self sufficient and incredibly determined man. He worked very hard all his life and sacrificed his own needs to provide for others. The boundless generosity of his spirit continued until his earthly body could no longer perform the work, but he continued to give all that he had until the very moment he passed on from this life.
An open minded, highly intelligent and creative person- Wilbur was fond of classical orchestra and big band music. He played the piano and guitar, and having had voice lessons and natural talent, he had a strong, beautiful singing voice. He had many varied talents and interests; He had a deep appreciation for fine antique furniture and was skilled in the restoration of antiques. He sewed and re-upholstered furniture. He enjoyed vegetable gardening, woodworking, and was skilled mechanically. Being very analytical by nature, he was constantly studying, seeking a higher understanding of the meaning of life.
We are all truly blessed that it was in God’s plan for him to be a part of our lives. The talks and guidance he gave to each one of us taught us many of the lessons and values we carry with us throughout life. His children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have all received enormous benefit from his support, guidance, generosity and love. Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain for yourself, it is what you do for others and the memories you leave behind. Wilbur has achieved great success in his life. We were taught by him what is truly valuable. The positive impact on, and the important role he played in our lives is his legacy.
Wilbur’s grandfather, Joseph Smith Wright, of Scottish-Irish, descent, emigrated with a company of Saints from Scotland in 1868. As a boy of thirteen, he walked across the plains with Captain Gillespie’s Company of Saints, enduring many hardships, until they arrived in Franklin, Idaho. During this time, many other family members saved their money and immigrated to join the church. Joseph later married Verena Foster, and together they were blessed with ten children. Arza, Wilbur’s Father was born February 4, 1889, and was the fifth child of the first generation born in the United States. He married Myrtle Brimhall on December 3, 1910, and together they were blessed with three sons. A dark haired, blue eyed boy, Wilbur Glenn, their second son, was born on December 28, 1926, in Blackfoot, Idaho. He was welcomed into his life by an older brother Gerald, and later joined by a younger brother, Lamarr. Wilbur’s grandmother became ill, and on the doctor’s advice the family decided to move to long Beach, California in 1929, with the hope that Verena’s health would improve. It did improve slightly, and she lived fifteen more years.
Tragically, six years after moving to California, Wilbur’s mother passed away. Wilbur was nine years old. His father passed away six years later, when he was fifteen years old. The three brothers were separated and sent to live with relatives. His cousins, Vern and Macel Handy cared for Wilbur for two years, and then he decided to join the Merchant Marines, at the age of seventeen. He served for two years, and told us stories about steering the ship and diving from cliffs with his mates.
At the age of nineteen, Wilbur joined the army during WWII. While stationed at Camp Lee in Verginia, he and Elizabeth met and fell in love. He proposed, and she said yes. They were married on May 9, 1947, by her father, James Wesley Sirles, Branch President, in Petersburg, Virginia. They were blessed with their first child, Cynthia, on February 16, 1948. Shortly thereafter, Wilbur received orders to be stationed in Japan. They had to drive to Washington State, and on the way they chose to be sealed at the Temple in Arizona, then travel on to visit his family-for them to meet the bride in California. Elizabeth has a fond memory of this time. As they were driving to the Temple, they were singing a song, then they would change the words of the song, and each would make up a verse back and forth. It became so comical that they laughed until they cried!
Elizabeth returned home for the first year, until Wilbur was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant and they were able to join him for the next two years. Upon returning from service overseas, they were blessed with their second daughter, Sheila, on May 3, 1950.
After completing his army tour of duty, Wilbur joined the Air National Guard, and held the position of Parachute Rigger. At this, and for many years to come the family lived in chesterfield, Virginia. Wilbur and Elizabeth were blessed with seven more children; Glenn, Robert, Roger, Carol, Heidi, Terri and David. The family was loving and closely knit, and active in the church and community. Wilbur also owned W.G. Wright & Sons Antique Restoration and Re-upholstering during this time.
In 1972, Wilbur began working for Stone & Webster Engineering, a position which required him to travel and be separated from the family quite often. One of the sites was Surry Nuclear Power, by which he was able to obtain a different position with Virginia Power (Vepco) at North Anna. The remaining children at home moved with the family to Central Virginia, and settled in Louisa County. The farm was a large home and a central gathering place for the family for many years. There were a lot of happy memories at that place. He retired as Senior Nuclear Materials Specialist from Virginia Power on September 1, 1987.
Wilbur and Elizabeth relocated to the current home in Mineral. By this time, the children were grown, but due to the tragic deaths of two of their daughters, Carol and Heidi, Wilbur and Elizabeth became parents all over again to a second family of grandchildren, Michael, Tina, Sunshine, Angela, Sherry, Lisa and Birdie. Wilbur and Elizabeth deeply loved and cared for them all and the children considered them their mom and dad. Now they are all grown, many have families of their own.
In 2000, a home was offered to them by their daughter (for both of them to live in) out of concern for Elizabeth’s health. It would have been better for both of them – to have closer address to medical care, and family members close by to help them. Elizabeth moved into the home, and Wilbur was supposed to, but found that he had too strong of an emotional attachment to his home is Louisa. He had too many memories there, and did not want to leave familiar surroundings. They kept in touch with frequent phone calls, visits, family gatherings for holidays, birthdays and family reunions. The family celebrated his 80th birthday last year with a large party, and his birthday this year with a smaller one at Christmas. Wilbur and Elizabeth were fortunate to have celebrated their 60th Anniversary with the entire family on May 9, 2007. There was a ceremony performed by James W. Sirles, Elizabeth’s brother, who attended the wedding in 1947 – for them to say their vows once again – for time and all eternity, and exchange rings again. Their love and devotion to one another remained strong throughout all the times of challenges and separation, as well as the good times. A love so strong will not end with his passing – because families are forever… Terri Lynn Wright Jones
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