Richard Cleveland Wright of Bridgewater, VA passed away on Friday, October 20, 2023.
Mr. Wright was born in Harrisburg, PA on October 6, 1926 to the late Roy C. and Lena S. Wright. The family moved to the Summit Church area near Centerville, VA during the depression of 1929 and he lived in the neighbor all of his life.
He was a life-time member of Summit Church of the Brethren. Richard served as a trustee on the Church Board, Member of Building Committee and many other committees. He had a deep interest and commitment for the church.
Richard was preceded by brother, Paul J. Wright, Sister, Dorothy W. Simmons, Sister, Ann W. Milar, Grandson, Keith Wright, Step-Son, Robert Cline, Son-in Law, James W. Walker and Mother of his Children, Nancy M. Wright.
He is survived by his Wife of 29 years Audrey Cline Wright, 3 children, Robert C. Wright (Sarah) of Delores, Colorado, Peggy Wright Walker of Roanoke, VA. and Marilyn W. Shoemaker (Lynn) of Thomasville, PA. Five Grandchildren, Becky Shoemaker, Dover, PA, Katie S. Wells (Josh),Thomasville, PA Reid C. Wright, Mancos, CO, Kimberly L. Wright, Payson, AZ, Maxx I. Wright, Delores, CO. Five Great -Grandchildren, Dallas Wingert, Owen Wingert, Liam Gilbert , Wyatt Wells, and Kalli Wells, Thomasville, PA. Great-Great Granddaughters, Dillon Wingert and Austin Wingert, Dover, PA. Brother-In-Law, Charles Simmons, Charlottesville, VA. Also numerous Nieces and Nephews.
Richard graduated North River High School in 1944. He served his country in the US Navy during WWII, on the Aircraft Carrier, USS Midway, 7th Fleet. In 1947, he was a crew member on the "Sea Going Cowboy", a cattle ship to which delivered heifers and horses to war torn Poland. After the Navy he joined his father in the cattle business and driving cattle trucks. He was around the stockyards all of his life. When he was 17 years old, Richard became interested in auctioneering. He was a self-taught auctioneer, auctioned for 70 years, doing his final auction at the Shenandoah District Disaster Relief Sale several years ago. He conducted sales at stockyards, specialty cattle, pigs and lamb sales though out the United States and Canada. Richard sold many real estate auctions. He was a founding member of the Virginia Auctioneers Association. He attended every Annual VAA meeting since 1958. During this time, Richard was awarded numerous auctioneering awards. He was a regular auctioneer at the Rockingham County Fair for the 4-H Auction and the first auctioneer for Harrisonburg Auto Auction.
As a well known cattleman in the Valley, Richard was a member of the Virginia Cattlemen's Association, American Angus Association, Director with the National Livestock Markets, and a Member of the Virginia Flying Farmers Association. He operated the 3rd generation Wright farm for 52 years rising beef, sheep, and poultry.
His true enjoyment was being a Pilot. He soloed at the old Harrisonburg Airport in 1946 and continued flying for 65 years. He flew over 41 different airplanes throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Richard had over 15,000 hours logged, and flew commercially for a several different companies. His final flight was on October 7, 2021 at age 95 from Shenandoah Valley Airport. He retired from the Federal Aviation Administration in Leesburg, VA.
After retiring from the FAA, Richard drove a semi-truck for IDM Trucking for 23 years. He retired September 2016 at age 89, traveling 588,553 miles.
Audrey and Richard enjoyed traveling throughout the US, Canada and Alaska in their Travel Trailer. They spent their winters in Central Florida. He loved his family and enjoyed meeting people.
The family will receive friends at Johnson Funeral Home, Bridgewater, VA on Saturday, October 28, 2023 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. The Funeral Service will be held at 2:00 PM on Sunday, October 29, 2023 at Summit Church of the Brethren, Bridgewater, VA. Pastors Jonathan Farmer, Gary Shull, and Tim Craver will conduct the service. Burial will follow at the Summit Church of the Brethren Cemetery.
Please consider donating to Richards favorite charities, Shenandoah District Disaster Relief and Heifer International.