William Stanley (Bill) Wright, known as Curly to his old friends, passed away on March 15, 2014 at the age of 80. He was a loving husband of Ada (Payne) Wright, father of Kelly (Gary Oliver), Craig (Lynne Sears), and Philip Wright (Kerstin Essmann). Much loved Grandfather of Jared, Blayne, and Kary Oliver, Andrew, Stacey, and Matthew Wright. Bill was the last member of his generation in the Wright family being predeceased by siblings Margaret (Thorne) Westland, Irene Riseborough, Jack Wright, and Lorne Wright. He will also be missed by sisters-in-law Joyce (Bill) Guerin and Brenda (Ted) Rumble and several nieces and nephews.
He was always “on the go”. He attended Talbot St Public School and Blenheim High School, but decided he would quit early and make his fortune by working at Shillington’s Department Store. I guess his million wasn’t in sight as he travelled to Windsor and enlisted in the Navy at the ripe old age of 17.
Bill was trained at Naval Radio Station Gloucester, a communications training base south of Ottawa and his first posting was in Aklavik, NWT as a member of a special unit – Supplementary Radio System – a separate group affiliated with the Armed Forces who governed their own activities. They didn’t serve within the regular armed forces and only served within their own command and units. Although 98% of the time they served in land-based units with a number of them in the northern part of the country, and were initially with Army and Air Force Signal groups, they were mostly members of the Royal Canadian Navy. Just recently, information was made public about the work of this special unit.
While in Aklavik he curled at the “Top of the World” curling club. He spent a short time in Moncton, NB where he was called to the Commanding Officer when coming off watch and was told to pack because he was going on exchange to the US Navy. He packed his bag, sold his car, and was on the train to Washington DC by noon. He was given some choice of postings and chose Imperial Beach, California on the border of Mexico. In Imperial Beach, he was fortunate to be a catcher on a baseball team made up mostly of carded players. He was so proud of being the only Canadian and one of the few non-carded players. He learned to play ball in Blenheim and played on four area teams in one season. Next he was posted to Gander, NL and then finished his 10 years of service teaching communications at Headquarters in Ottawa.
After his discharge, Bill worked at Canadian Marietta, Kent Concrete, Doey Gravel and Cleveland Sand and Gravel. His favourite job was working at the Land Registry Office where he became the Deputy Registrar in Chatham.
He was involved in the community through local sports and clubs. He played competitive softball, baseball, racquetball, bowling, golf and hockey. While playing in a racquetball tournament he overheard a young man joke about having to play “that old man”. Bill, being the old man, beat the young joker and went on to win the whole tournament.
Bill also coached minor baseball in both Blenheim and Cedar Springs and minor hockey in Blenheim. He was treasurer of Blenheim Minor Hockey and the President of Blenheim Community Golf Club.
Bill has been a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 185 for 45 years.
Even with his first heart surgery at 42 years old and numerous other health problems throughout the years following, he defied the odds and was able to watch his grandchildren grow up and celebrate his 80th birthday alongside his family. He was a true gentleman, a loving husband, father, and grandfather who will be greatly missed.
Friends and Family are invited to gather at the Blenheim Community Funeral Home to show their support to Bill’s family on Wednesday from 2 – 4 & 7 – 9 p.m. A Legion Service will be held on Wednesday at 6:45 p.m.
A Funeral Service for Bill will be held at the Blenheim United Church on Thursday March 20, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. with Rev. Bruce Cook officiating. Cremation will follow with a private family interment at a later date. Friends wishing to remember Bill with a memorial donation are asked to consider the Blenheim United Church, the Ivey Eye Institute or the University Hospital, London. Online condolences for the family and memorial donations may be left at www.blenheimcommunityfuneralhome.com