Dr. Wright was born in North Adams, MA, to Milford Peter Wright and Margaret (Bennett) Wright on March 25, 1942. In the late 1950s, at a very early age, he began working part-time at both People’s Grocery Market and Neville’s Donut Shop and Bakery, and continued working there for 15 years. His formative education was in local schools, graduating from Freeman Elementary School. After his father’s death in 1954 he lived with James and Margaret Mc Clelland who were his caregivers throughout his high school years. While at Drury High School he was a three sport athlete in track, basketball and football. He was chosen varsity basketball starter his sophomore year and was named All Berkshire, All Western Mass, and Honorable Mention All American Football center in his senior year. He graduated from Drury in 1960.
After high school graduation, Dr. Wright made his home with his grandmother, Mary Bennett, and uncle, Francis Bennett, and remained there throughout his early college years, graduating from North Adams State College (Now MCLA) in 1964. He married his high school sweetheart, Ann Marie Mullen, on July 9, 1966, in St. Francis Church. The couple celebrated their 51st first wedding anniversary this past July.
Dr. Wright began his teaching career in New York state in 1964 and later taught in Stamford, CT, before returning to North Adams when he was hired at McCann. He received a Master of Science degree in history from Danbury State College (now Western Connecticut University), completing his thesis entitled “World War II: An Economic Ramification of the Treaty of Versailles 1919-1939.” In 1972 he was awarded a sabbatical from McCann when accepted into the doctoral program at the University of Massachusetts and was awarded his doctorate in education in 1973.
That same year he was named vice principal for instruction at Drury High School. He was particularly proud of two major administrative achievements in his career. As vice principal, Dr. Wright was instrumental in planning for the move to the new Drury High School, as well as reorganizing the administrative staff for the new school. Two new administrative positions were created to assist the principal in transitioning: vice principal for administration of discipline, and vice principal for curriculum and instruction, the position to which Dr. Wright was appointed. In 1975, 1,100 students were expected to begin the school year in the new Drury High School “open space” structure. That same year, St. Joseph High School closed, adding over 100 students to the Drury student body. In 1976, under the tutelage of Robert Maroni, assistant superintendent at the time, Dr. Wright was named director of pupil services, a position he held until 1988, overseeing the city’s guidance and special education services, as well as assisting then-Superintended Maroni.
In 1988, Dr. Wright was appointed superintendent of schools for the Windham Southwest Supervisory Union in Vermont, responsible for the supervision of six diverse school districts. He was particularly proud of the administrative staff that he developed both in the various school buildings and at the central office level, and played a major role in combining the Wilmington and Whitingham School District into the Twin Valley School Districts. That school district continues its collaborative efforts today. As superintendant of schools, Dr. Wright was tapped to consult to the New England Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges, evaluating and accrediting public schools through out New England. Dr. Wright served as superintendent at WSSU for 22 years, retiring in 2010. At that time he was the longest serving superintendent in the state of Vermont. His educational career as a teacher and administrator spanned 46 years of service in four states.
Over the years Dr. Wright enjoyed traveling with his family including several times a year to Naples, FL, to Kristen and Todd Scott’s vacation home; and enjoyed nine cruises to such destinations as the Caribbean and Alaska. He also traveled to Greece, Turkey, and the Bosphorous Strait, and had the good fortune of traveling to Beijing, China with the University of Vermont Exchange Program. He was also a charter member of the Deerfield Valley Rotary Club. He loved life and lived it to the fullest.
He was most grateful for his selfless caregivers: his devoted wife, Ann Marie, two wonderful daughters, Lisa and Kristen, and son-in-law Todd Scott.
He leaves his wife of 51 years, Ann Marie; two daughters, Lisa Wright and partner James J. Maroni, and Kristen Wright, Scott and husband Todd; grandsons, Brenden and Keeghen Scott (who called him “papa”) and step-grandson Matthew Scott; his brother, Christopher and wife Jan, of Port St. Lucie, FL; and brother-and sister-in-law Gerald and Carol Mullen. Nephews include Corey, Christopher, and Curtis Mullen and their families.
The family wishes to give a special thank you to Kayla Whitman, from Berkshire Visiting Nurses, for her special care and compassion.
A Liturgy of Christian Burial to celebrate the life of Peter Wright was held Friday, September 15, at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church. Burial followed in Southview Cemetery. In lieu of flowers charitable donations may be made to Pop Cares or the Berkshire Visiting Nurse Association in care of the funeral home. To add to the book of memories visit www.flynndagnolifuneralhomes.com.