Nobel Bright, Jr.
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AGE: 82 • Vineland
Nobel Bright, Jr. of Vineland, NJ was an early convert to the potential for computers to shrink our world and hurry its pace. As a result, became part of early efforts aimed at harnessing this electronic reality to deal with an ever-expanding flow of information vital to society's survival as well as its potential to destroy. He died Saturday at his home in Vineland, NJ. He was 82 and was fighting cancer. His life was marked by associations with a number of well-known persons, including Tim Russert of "Meet the Press" fame, who assisted him in upgrading the State University of New York (SUNY) computer network at the SUNY headquarters in Albany. Mr. Russert at the time was an assistant in the Washington, DC office of the Senator Patrick Daniel Moynihan. Bright received his undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice (then called Police Science) and a Master's degree in the same field from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. His studies at MSU resulted in his becoming part of an effort by the University and the U.S. State Department in the 1960's to assist the newly independent nation of Nigeria in establishing a national university in Lagos. Bright served as registrar at SUNY, New Paltz, and earlier at the Agricultural and Technical College in New York state. At each step he streamlined the registration process for students. His computer skills were so well received that the New Paltz student newspaper declared him "Messiah Bright" a nickname he accepted with pride and sense of professional accomplishment. His work in Nigeria led to his visiting Cape Town, South Africa, where he resided for a time. Upon his return to the United States, he was arrested in a dispute with his half-brother and sentenced to the State Penitentiary. Upon his release, he resided in North Wildwood prior to moving to the Vineland area. While incarcerated, Bright helped plan and install the prison computer system. Later after his release he was called back to the penitentiary on salary to upgrade their system. Bright was born in North Wildwood on November 7, 1931, the son of Marion Dilks Bright and Nobel Bright, Sr. His paternal grandfather was State Senator William H. Bright, who served as President of the New Jersey State Senate in Trenton in the 1920's. Prior to that, he was Cape May County Sheriff and later Mayor of Wildwood during the 1930's.
Bright served in the U.S. Army and prior to that was a plebe at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. He is survived by numerous cousins. Donations in his name are asked to be made to the Animal Welfare Society, 40 Rte# 47 South, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210.
Published in The Daily Journal on Jan. 3, 2014