Richard “Dick” Wright, 81, of Atlantic, Iowa died Tuesday, April 13, 2021, at Heritage House in Atlantic.
Richard Charles Wright was born on August 22, 1939, in Des Moines, Iowa, the second of two children born to William “Bill” Willis and Madge Estelle (Bates) Wright. Madge and Bill participated in music and theatre production in Des Moines, and this was a family theme allowing music to be an integral part of growing up, with lasting memories through the years for their families. Singing songs late into the night was done at the Wright households regularly. The family moved to Atlantic in 1952, and Dick graduated from Atlantic High School in the Class of 1957.
Following graduation, Dick went to work as a gasoline pump jockey until Hal Stevenson, who was the assistant manager of Data Processing at Walnut Grove, encouraged him to apply for an opening for a data processing trainee position. Dick was the acting computer analyst and head of the computer division when Walnut Grove sold; he worked there nearly 37 years. Friendships like Dick had with Hal and fellow Walnut grove employees were vital to the life Dick and his family built in Atlantic. In addition to Walnut Grove, he was a part of the Roland Funeral Service staff for over 20 years. Warren Roland has been a family friend for many years and Dick became a part of the Roland family in the 2000s. While working at Roland’s he won the award for most yellow light tickets; this being no surprise to his family and friends as they also witnessed him using that heavy foot a little more than they all appreciated, yet safely driving many places. Dick was a great encouragement to his co-workers and families alike; he had a way of making everyone feel his jolliness and love.
As a teenager he met Patricia “Pat” Ann Nelson and the couple later married on June 15, 1958. They were blessed with three children, Richard “Rick” Charles, Kristi Sue, and William “Dan” Daniel. Dick took adult instruction and was baptized at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church prior to his marriage to Pat, whom had been a lifelong member. The couple were active members of the congregation and also within the Atlantic Community. Dick’s continued spiritual practices were touchstones for all the volunteering he did throughout his life.
Dick served in a host of different offices in several organizations. He was involved in Red Cross First Aid, Jaycees, YMCA Board, Walnut Grove (Nishna Valley) Credit Union, Nishna Hills Golf Course and Development, and the Atlantic Booster Club just to name a few. He was active in St. Paul's Lutheran Church, various outreach programs for calling on homebound individuals and even assisting at the hospital where he helped people with their appointments, daily devotions and calls to those unable to be out in the community. He had stacks of thank you cards in his condo from people even the family didn't know. It was a testament to Dick’s devotion to community and to his spiritual practice.
Dick attended golf leagues at Nishna Hills since he helped the course open in 1963. Golf soon became a family sport when he enrolled his children, Rick and Kristi in golf lessons which allowed Rick to prosper in the sport. Rick became the club champion at his local golf course in Decatur, IL, something Dick was very proud of.
On July 15, 1999, he was united in marriage to Pamela “Pam” Roth Gade. Dick was fortunate to have found a soul mate in Pam, and the love and relationship they cultivated filled a gap for Dick that lasted the lifetime of Pam. The couple enjoyed golfing and traveling together all over the United States for fun and to also visit family. Some of their adventures included going to Mardi Gras, spending time at the beach, Destin, FL being a favorite, spending time in Arizona with Pam's brother, and even including a Caribbean Cruise.
Dick golfed, ate and played cards with Nancy Zellmer, along with Harold and Sandy Fairbarn, until his health began to decline. The friendships he cultivated over the years were rich and rewarding.
Dick is survived by his daughter, Kristi Wright of Hudson Valley, NY; son, William “Dan” Wright and his wife, Teresa of Atlantic, and their children Drew (Kim) Wright, their daughters Magnolia and Juliette Wright of Tennessee, Colby Madsen and his dog who Dick adored, Scout of Kimballton, and Brianna Wright of Kansas City, KS; the children of the late Rick Wright, Shay (Darrell) Leatherman and their children, Dallas Leatherman and Dallas’ son, Jasper, and Calista Leatherman and Calista’s daughter, Kyra, all of Texas, Tiara (Wyatt) Murphy and their children, Walker Bagianni and Teagan Murphy, all of Illinois, and Sean Wright and his children, Kayilynn and Dahlilah Wright, all of Nebraska; daughter, Shana (Kevin) Elwood and their children Kreighton (Kamden) Elwood and their children, Blayklyn, Kaynley, Kaleb, Kennedy, and Karson, all of Treynor and Glenwood; son, Levi Gade and his children, Myah, Addy, and Ella, all of Griswold; sister-in-law, Susan Wright of Newton; gal-pal, Nancy Zellmer of Atlantic; and numerous extended family and friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents; wives, Pat Wright in 1996 and Pam Wright in 2010; son, Richard “Rick” Wright II in 2007; brother, William “Bill” Wright; and many relatives that were gone too soon.
Visitation, with the family present, will be held from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Friday, April 30, 2021, at Roland Funeral Home in Atlantic.
A Celebration of Life Memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m., May 1, 2021, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Atlantic. A private family burial will be held at Oak Hill Cemetery, west of Brayton prior to the service.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to the family for later designation to projects at Nishna Hills Golf Course.
Roland Funeral Service is caring for Dick's family and his arrangements. Condolences may be left at www.rolandfuneralservice.com.
In Loving Memory Of
Richard “Dick” Wright
August 22, 1939 - Des Moines, Iowa
April 13, 2021 - Atlantic, Iowa
At the age of 81 years, 7 months & 22 days
CELEBRATION OF LIFE MEMORIAL SERVICE
1:00 p.m., Saturday, May 1, 2021
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church - Atlantic, Iowa
Pastor Lauri Boysen
Amanda Hawes - St. Croix Hospice Music Therapist
Kristi Wright & Hal Stevenson
“Borning Cry” by the Congregation, led by Amanda Hawes
“Let the Rest of the World Go By”
This song has been performed by Dick’s parents and
also sung by Dick and his brother, Bill on many occasions.
Dick’s granddaughter, Tiara Murphy and great-grandson, Walker Bagianni
and the family will share a verse for all to enjoy.
“I Pray” recorded by Lonestar
“The Dance” recorded by Garth Brooks
HONORARY CASKET BEARERS
Oak Hill Cemetery - west of Brayton, Iowa
In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to the family
for later designation to projects at Nishna Hills Golf Course.
Immediately following the service, a time for
food and fellowship will be held in the fellowship hall.