Mushing legend Gareth Thomas Wright passed on Oct. 14, 2019, in Fairbanks.
Gareth was born in Nenana on Oct. 16, 1928, to the late Arthur and Myrtle (Rose) Wright. He spent his early childhood in Minto, where his father served as the Episcopal minister. When Gareth was 6 years old, the family returned to Nenana, where his mother served as a missionary nurse at St. Mark's Mission.
Gareth had many interests and was blessed with an inquisitive spirit from a young age that exposed him to the love of music, a variety of foods, world travel, animals and the world of business intrigue. However, Gareth was most comfortable sharing the beauty of nature with his family.
Gareth began his first business partnership at the age of 13 with an ice cream stand in Nenana. This early experience led to the establishment of family-owned construction companies with his brothers, wife and daughters involving major airports, road projects throughout Alaska and land development such as Chena Marina Subdivision. In construction, he hired, trained and encouraged many people to work hard and succeed. Many worked with him year after year as seasonal workers as he treated his employees with respect and trust. The seasonality of this work allowed Gareth to focus on his love of sled dogs.
At the age of 13, Gareth got his first sled dog, which led to his passion for breeding and development of the racing "Aurora Husky." Gareth was one of the most influential dog breeders, and his bloodline created a cornerstone of the modern racing sled dog that most mushers enjoy today. Gareth was a competitive musher who won both major Alaska sprint sled dog races - the North American Championship twice and the Fur Rendezvous World Championship three times - and numerous other races. He was a founding father of the major racing clubs throughout Alaska, including the Alaska Dog Mushers Association and the Alaskan Sled Dog and Racing Association.
His love of people resulted in mentoring many people both in and outside the construction and dog racing world. But above all else was the devotion and love he had for his family, especially his wife, Miranda. Together they built a home filled with love, family and a swimming pool. They filled the role of grandparents and great-grandparents with an abundance of pride and love for each member of their large extended family.
Gareth was a devoted husband and father and leaves behind his wife of 52 years, Miranda (Hildebrand); daughters, Sandy Creamer (Don), Roxy Wright Freedle (Dave), Lynette Holt (Dave) and Shannon Erhart; special son, Bruce Garey; and brothers, Al and Jules Wright. He was known as Super Papa by his numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Wright is predeceased by his parents and brothers, Arthur Eugene, Donald, Lawrence and Forrest; and grandson, Todd Hughes.
A celebration of life will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, at the Chief David Salmon Tribal Hall, 111 Clay St., Fairbanks, followed by a traditional potlatch at 6 p.m. He will be laid to rest by his family at the Nenana Cemetery on the hill.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Oct. 19, 2019.