Former State Rep, Clarion U. Professor Wright Passes Away

wrightDr. David R. Wright of 1074 Sunset Drive, Clarion, died November 18 in Clarion, PA at the age of 80.

He was born in Springfield, Missouri on December 24, 1935 the son of Clarence A. and Ruby G. Wright. He was the husband of Carolyn G. Wright, the father of the late Douglas R. Wright, and of Daniel N. Wright.

Wright earned an Associate of Arts degree from what is now Southwest Baptist University, a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of Arts from the University of Missouri, and a Ph.D. from Ohio University. He attended Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. He was a graduate of the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University and a similar program at Boston University.

He enlisted as a volunteer in the United States Army and served three years. For most of his service he was an X-Ray Technician in the base hospital at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

Wright was employed in 1971 as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre at Clarion University of Pennsylvania and retired in July, 2000. In November, 1976 he was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and served until November 30, 1996. No Representative from Clarion County had ever served as long as Wright’s twenty-year tenure.

In his third term, he was elected to leadership and served in a leadership capacity for the duration of his tenure. He had served as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, Treasurer of the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, Chairman of the Consumer Affairs Committee, and Chairman of the Majority Policy Committee.

Wright wrote the legislation that created the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, the first permanent entity of state government devoted solely to improving the quality of rural life. Wright was sometimes referred to as “Mr. Rural Pennsylvania” because of his efforts to highlight the needs of rural areas. He served as Chairman of the Center until his retirement from the House.

As Chairman of the Consumer Affairs Committee he was the prime sponsor of the telecommunication bill that provided for the first restructuring of the telecommunication industry since 1935 and sponsored legislation creating competition in the electric industry.

Wright was a prime mover in the development of legislation creating the State System of Higher Education, a measure that unified the fourteen state colleges into a university system. He was responsible for the naming of the universities. He was also a major supporter of science and technology education for teachers.

After his retirement from the University, he became active in gas and oil production.

On October 23, 1958 he was married to Carolyn Golemon in Simpson, Louisiana. She survives. They had two sons, Douglas and Daniel.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by son Daniel and his wife Rhonda of Overland Park, Kansas and grandsons Austin Milo and Evan David, daughter-in-law Judy Wright and granddaughter Rachel Mae and grandson Griffin Archer, one sister, Flossie Parke and her husband Nelson of Springfield, Missouri, and one brother, John and his wife Jeannie of Little Rock, Arkansas.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his oldest brother Paul, his sister Esther, and his oldest son, Douglas.

The family will have a private visitation at the Faller Funeral Home, Inc. in Fryburg.

A Memorial Service will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Clarion at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Douglas R. Wright Leadership Scholarship, Pendleton County Education Foundation, P.O. Box 88, Falmouth, KY 41040.

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