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Bradford Wright

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Bradford Wright Obituary
Bradford Wright, 95, died peacefully at home in Newton, Massachusetts on June 19, 2014, following a brief illness. He was an inspiration to many as a history teacher, musician, husband, father, grandfather, friend and neighbor. Born on August 28, 1918 to Cecil Wright and Clara Holman Wright, he was raised in Glens Falls, NY by his father and stepmother, Eunice Stewart Wright, and graduated from Glens Falls High School in 1936 and from Phillips Academy, Andover in 1938. In 1940 he completed studies at the Yale School of Music and then entered Yale College as a freshman. Following passage of the Selective Service Act, his number was chosen on the first drawing and in July of 1941 he entered the United States Army. After two years at Officer Candidate School, he spent the next two years as an instructor at ordnance training centers in Maryland and California, where he first discovered his natural gifts as a teacher. After D-Day in 1944, Lieutenant Colonel Wright served in Europe as a company officer, a battalion officer, a staff officer at Third Army Headquarters, and after the war at Army Headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. After World War II he returned to Yale College, graduating in 1949. During this period he had the good fortune of meeting and marrying Marjorie Blackwood of Woodbury, NJ, a dietician working in food services at Yale. They were married for 64 years, and had three children. In 1949, Mr. Wright enrolled in graduate school at Columbia University in New York, pursuing a Masters degree in political science, but while completing the program he was recalled to active duty in the army for sixteen months (stateside) during the Korean War. After returning to Columbia and receiving his Masters degree in 1952, he was offered a high-ranking career position with the Army, but in his own words I was committed to making teaching rather than war my career. He remained in the army reserve until 1970. After initial teaching positions at Trinity School in New York City, Belmont Hill School in Massachusetts, and Swampscott High School, Mr. Wright was offered a position in the Social Studies Department at Brookline High School, where he remained as a history teacher for 34 years. He taught advanced placement courses in American and European history, and later in his career developed specialized courses pertaining to American constitutional history, Russian history, and America since 1945. He was known as a firm but generous teacher, who brought history to life for many generations of Brookline High School students. His teaching legacy is demonstrated by the unusual number of professional historians, authors, newspaper correspondents, and college professors who claim him as a mentor and speak glowingly of his teaching and the influence he had on their lives. Mr. Wrights parents were both skilled musicians, and he turned his life-long passion for music into an additional career path as a church musician. Beginning in 1959, he served as organist and choirmaster at Grace Episcopal Church in Newton Corner for 43 years, retiring in 2002. He was a strong and steady presence at the church through many clergy transitions and periods of change, and presided over a major reconstruction of the historic organ at the church. In addition to being a skilled organist, he was a legend as a choirmaster, achieving impressive results by combining the discipline of a military officer, the depth and sensitivity of a performing artist, and the patience of a man of great faith. After retirement he retained a great fondness for Grace Church and its parishioners, while also becoming part of the church family at All Saints Church in Brookline where he enjoyed the excellent music program for which the church is known, and reaped the benefits of the warmth and generosity of the church community. Over the course of many years, Mr. Wright was also active at Trinity Church in Boston where he sang in the choir for Sunday evening services, under the direction of his mentor, George Faxon, and he took great pride in filling in for Mr. Faxon as organist during summer months and for special services. Mr. Wright enjoyed telling stories about family history, and was especially eloquent when describing his love of Lake George in upstate New York, where he spent much time as a boy and to which he made pilgrimage almost every summer of his life. Over the years, Mr. and Mrs. Wright exhibited extraordinary kindness and generosity to their neighbors. In a remarkable circle of kindness, new neighbors who had taken the place of the old lavished similar generosity and concern back toward the Wrights during their later years, for which the family is most grateful. Bradford Wright was a man of strong faith and integrity, who showed great commitment to his country and fellow citizens and deep love and devotion to his family. He is survived by his exceedingly loving wife Marjorie, his three children Barbara, William, and Virginia, and four grandchildren. A memorial service will take place in the fall. In tribute to Mr. Wright, donations may be sent to Rensselaers Darrin Fresh Water Institute, which is dedicated to the study of the ecological health of Lake George: Gifts Processing Center, P.O. Box 3164, Boston, MA, 02241. To share a memory of Brad, please visit www.eatonand mackay.com.

Published in The Brookline Tab from June 24 to July 1, 2014
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