I was born May 5th 1932 in the old Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah, the only child of Percy Blayne and Elva Margaret Hauser Wright. I enjoyed a happy childhood thanks to the lack of all the electronic devices that the children of today have access to; thus spending many amusing hours playing the usual outdoor games of our times and listening to the special radio shows we kids always looked forward to. I was very ambitious as a youngster always having to be employed in some endeavor. I worked such jobs as picking cherries, shining shoes down 25th street during World War 2, had paper routes with both the Salt Lake Tribune (mornings) and the Ogden Standard Examiner (then evenings), dishwasher at the Ben Lomond Hotel, frying hamburgers at the old Ogden Reds Baseball Park, and spent 4 summer months for Ogden City Engineer Department on the survey crew. I loved the challenges that all these occupations presented.
My school days were spent at Madison Elementary, Central Jr. High and Ogden High, from where I graduated in 1950. Next came two years (1950-1952) attending Weber College (now Weber State University) where I was a member of Phoenix Social Club graduating with an Associate Degree. Then came a two year stint in the U.S. Army in the 53rd Field Artillery Battalion during the Korean conflict where due to my typing ability which was greatly needed at the time, I was detained my entire enlistment at the Fort Ord Army Base in Monterey Bay, California where I held the rank of Acting Sergeant Major at Battalion Headquarters my last six months.
Upon receiving my discharge papers I was accepted at Utah State Agriculture College (now Utah State University) in 1955 on the G.I. Bill where I attained my Bachelor Degree in Sociology. While at Utah State I served as President of the Sociology Club and was a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity. I continued on to receive my Masters Degree in Sociology at the University of Utah while serving as Vice President of the Sociology Students Association. My chosen career proved very prosperous, fulfilling and successful. I began as a worker in the Child Welfare Department which led to advancement in the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in 1958 in Ogden where I served as a counselor, soon attaining the position as District Supervisor to Farmington, Brigham City, Logan as well as Ogden. After several years, I was moved to the main office in Salt Lake where my title was Field Service Director to the Provo, Cedar City and two Salt Lake districts.
Once per week, I was employed as a psychologist at the Weber County Health Services after being hired by Dr. Harvey Wheelwright. Here we catered to those unable to afford mental help.
After retirement in 1986 I soon found I needed an outlet to occupy my time and was hired at the Ogden Z.C.M.I. as a dock worker, packing and unpacking in the silver and China department and their overall “handyman”.
While at Utah State a P.E. major and Chi Omega named Joyce Parry caught my eye and after a 5 year courtship, we married June 10th in the First Presbyterian Church. We spent over 30 happy years together which produced two terrific and dedicated children; Parry Kay Wright Franzen (Ron) and Curtis Robb Wright. As well as five grandchildren Corey Franzen, Justin Franzen Cortney Wright, Tyler Franzen and finally a female, Cera Wright. Also one great grandson Kyler Franzen. Various circumstances led to our divorce in 1996; however we continued to see each other on many occasions, entering into an endearing friendship.
My main passions and interests in life consisted of membership in the Junior Chamber of Commerce where I served as First Vice President, membership in the Mount Ogden Toastmasters where I was elected President, member of the Ogden Lions also serving as President during the year of the International convention in Tokyo Japan, a highly fun and educational experience. Before my term ended I was the first president to induct a Black member (Brady Small, a Weber State Basketball standout).
A great deal of my free time was spent motorcycling with Joyce entow, even making it to Yellowstone Park at one fling. The entire family would bike all over Ogden usually stopping at Lorin Farr Park where at that time had many Lagoon like children rides. Tennis took up many happy hours playing at the Mt. Eyrie Racquet Club (now the Ogden Athletic Club) and the Ogden Country Club.
Before my knees announced they’d had enough, I was an avid and dedicated jogger achieving the 1,000 mile category in 1975. My dream of running a marathon was achieved as I entered the Eden marathon where I won the 1st place trophy, out of three entrees in my age division.
After purchasing a campground in the Sourdough area in the Uinta Mountains I turned into a camper first class spending many harmonious hours gazing at the view from my deck.
I was greatly influenced by the author Henry David Thoreau who said “ If a man does not keep pace with his companions perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears however measured or far away.”
In all my endeavors in life I was surrounded by many great and lasting friendships. Folks who added joy, happiness and belonging to my days on this earth. I want to thank , with a tear in eye, each and every one of you who were a part of these 81 years. Since there will be no funeral nor viewing (I want to be remembered when I was living) my children would greatly appreciate an email from anyone who will take the time, and include a memory of me and what we shared together and send it to either Parry Franzen at Franzrn7@yahoo.com or Robb Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org or Leavitt’s Mortuary at www.leavittsmortuary.com This will make a great ending to the album of my life.
I passed away peacefully on September 11th at the house of my daughter after various body parts decided they had worked long enough. I am survived by all the above members of my family: a former daughter in law Sheila Wright and my faithful dog Raven who was always by my side. I was preceded in death by my Father and my beloved Mother with whom I was extremely close, a special Aunt-Sally Crezee, a Mother in Law — Ruth Parry and a Step Mother – Sherley Bullen Wright.
My immediate family held a private graveside service for me on September 16th with long time friend Norman Penrod dedicating the grave. I was laid to rest at the Leavitt’s Aultorest Memorial Park within my former wife’s plot. (Parry/Winter).
In closing I want to thank and show much love and appreciation to the people who made it possible to leave this earth in a loving place; my son Robb, my grandson Corey Franzen, former wife Joyce, hospice nurses Ann and Angel but above all to my private nurse; a Florence Nightingale and an Angel of Mercy combined—my daughter Parry who literally held a constant vigil at my bedside and assisted in whatever medical needs were necessary.
Our Dad contributed immensely to the Ogden Community! We wish to acknowledge a sampling of these activities: The first P.T.A. President of Lincoln Elementary School (1970) followed by being elected President of the new Ben Lomond P.T.A. council (1972); appointed by Governor Norman Bangerter to serve on the Board of Directors of the Utah State Employees Charitable Fund (1985-1987); directed Utah’s delegation to the National White House Conference on Handicapped individuals held in Washington D.C.; Secretary of the Weber County Sheltered Workshop; board member of the Weber County Council of Aging, President of the Weber Training Center Board; on the mayor’s committee for Emplyment of the Handicapped and was a board member of the majority of charitable organizations such as the United Way.
A few of the prestigious honors bestowed on Dad were receiving a Counselor of the Year award by the National Rehabilitation Association (1968) and the Elkins Award from the National Rehabilitation Counseling Association (1968).
We are certain that our Dad did indeed make this earth a better place!