PORTALES — Funeral services for Howard Wayne Wright, 83, were held at Wheeler Mortuary Chapel, Saturday, March 2, 2013, with the Rev. Randy Rankin officiating. Internment followed in Portales Cemetery. Pallbearers were Josh Bradford, John Danforth (great nephew), David Motter, Bob Ritchie, Robbie Ritchie and Mark Wright. Honorary pallbearers were Bob Collette (friend), Doyle Howerton (friend), Kent Reed (friend) and Dick Ribble (nephew). In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in memory of Howard Wright to Santa Fe Trails Assistant Living and Memory Care, 402 S. Colonial Dr., Cleburne, TX 76033.
Howard Wayne Wright passed into his eternal home with Jesus on Feb. 27, 2013, in Cleburne, Texas. Howard was born on June 2, 1929, in Nashville, Tenn., to Tedia Mae and Howard S. Wright. His family moved to Toledo, Ohio, when he was in third grade.
He graduated from high school in 1947 and enlisted in the Air Force in 1950. While he was stationed at Sandia AFB in Albuquerque, he met and married Betty Jo South from Portales, on Dec. 24, 1951, at the First Baptist Church, Portales. Howard was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1954 while he and Betty were stationed at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., in the 3083rd Aviation Depot Group, known as Travis’ “Secret City.”
Howard, Betty and their baby daughter left California and moved to, Toledo, where their son was born. Betty taught elementary school and Howard worked on the Toledo Fire Department as a fireman and on the rescue squad. He graduated from the University of Toledo in 1964 with a BS in science. The family moved to Roswell in 1964, where Howard held several different positions in the Roswell Independent School District. He taught at Mesa Middle School his first year with the district. When Goddard High School opened in 1965, he transferred there and taught physics, science and was the golf coach for five years. The golf team of 1969 won the state championship under his coaching. He was assistant principal at Yucca Middle School until it closed, then was the planetarium director for the RISD. During summers, he attended New Mexico Highlands University, and in 1969 earned a master’s degree in science. He held other positions during his teaching career such as principal at Floyd High School and math and science teacher at Hagerman High School. He retired from teaching in 1988.
Shortly after his beloved wife Betty passed into eternity, Howard moved from Roswell to Cleburne to live near his daughter, Valerie. He moved into Santa Fe Trails Assistant Living Facility in 2010. He was a member of First Baptist Church, Roswell, and missed his Sunday school class after he moved to Cleburne. He enjoyed Christian fellowship at Cleburne Bible Church and the Sunday morning service at Santa Fe Trails.
Howard had many hobbies such as hunting, fishing, photography, restoring old cars, rock collecting and polishing, making silver jewelry, bowling and golfing. He competed and earned medals in the Senior Olympics events across the country in bowling. He was an active member of the Rock Hound Club in Roswell. His favorite hobby was spending time with his five grandchildren. He loved every moment and every activity with his grandchildren. He was patient, kind, fun-loving and always had a positive outlook on life. Howard was a bright spot and a blessing to everyone he met. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, residents and staff at Santa Fe Trails. They are comforted in knowing he is in the presence of Christ for eternity.
He was preceded into eternity by his parents; a sister Jean Wright; two brothers, Jerry and Jim Wright; and his wife of 56 years Betty.
Howard was a beloved husband, daddy, grandpa, great-grandpa, brother, uncle, friend and neighbor.
Survivors include a daughter Valerie Jo Wright Ritchie and her husband Bob, of Cleburne; a son Mark Wayne Wright and his wife Desiree (Knudsen), of Russellville, Ark.; five grandchildren, Erika Wright, of Nashville, Ingrid and David Motter, of Dallas, Annie and Josh Bradford, of Russellville, Robbie Wayne Ritchie, of Minneapolis, and Shelby Jo Ritchie, of Abilene, Texas; one great-grandchild Elliot Mark Motter; two brothers, Sam Wright and his wife Bea, of Pioneer, Ohio, and Nick Wright and his wife Kathy, of Kailua Kona, Hawaii; two sisters, Joyce Wright Douglas, of Toledo, Joanne Wright Coakley and her husband Tim, of Toledo; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Arrangements were under the direction of Wheeler Mortuary of Portales, 575-356-4455,wheelermortuary.net.