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Michael William WRIGHT


1938 - 2020
Michael William WRIGHT Obituary
A great man, age 81 of Naples, FL and Wayzata, MN died peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family and dog Willie Nelson on January 27th. Mike valued family, integrity, hard work, education, supporting the community, and the American Dream. Mike was born June 13, 1938 to Thomas and Winifred Wright in Minneapolis, MN. A natural leader, Mike had a unique ability to connect with and make people feel special. He lived a life of significant achievement and service; he did it all with humility and an appreciation for others. Mike graduated from St. Thomas Military Academy in 1956 where he was named an All-State basketball player as a freshman, an All-American in both basketball and football as a senior, and the 1956 Mt. Olivet Minnesota Sportsman of the Year. Mike attended the University of Minnesota where he lettered in basketball and football, was the Captain of the 1959 Gopher football team, and was named an Academic All-American. In 1960, Mike was drafted by the Green Bay Packers as the 65th pick of the NFL Draft, by the Oakland Raiders as a first selection of the inaugural AFL Draft, and by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL. Mike took the highest offered salary of $11,000 and signed with the Blue Bombers to play for a fellow Gopher, Head Coach Bud Grant. In 1961, the Blue Bombers won the Grey Cup Championship and Mike was named All-Pro. Concurrent with playing pro football, Mike attended the University of Minnesota Law School on an ROTC scholarship. In 1963, he graduated from with honors, was named Order of the Coif, and served as Editor of the Law Review. After graduation, Mike retired from football and joined the Army as a Lieutenant to fulfill his ROTC scholarship and commitment to his country. Following the Army, Mike joined the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney where he quickly became a Partner. He was then hired by his client, SUPERVALU, where he led the company as its Chairman and CEO from 1980 to 2001, where over his career earnings grew from $22mm in 1977 to $254mm in 2000. He cared deeply about all SUPERVALU employees and had a personal connection with them regardless of position Mike served on many nonprofit, civic, and corporate boards, including: Life Trustee of St. Thomas Academy, Life Member of the Board of Overseers of the University of Minnesota Law School, Trustee Emeritus of the University of Minnesota Foundation, Board of Overseers of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, President of the Minnesota Business Partnership, Chair of the Twin Cities United Way, Vice Chairman of S.C. Johnson and Son., first independent Director of Cargill Inc., Director of Canadian Pacific Railway, Honeywell International, and Wells Fargo & Company. Notable awards include: The University of Minnesota Outstanding Achievement Award, "M" Club Hall of Fame - Lifetime Achievement Award, St. Thomas Military Academy Athletic Hall of Fame, and Horatio Alger Award for outstanding Americans who exemplify dedication, purpose, and perseverance in their personal and professional lives. Mike loved his wife Judy, his large family, close friends, and his dog Willie Nelson. Mike, Dad, Pops, Papa cared more about his family than any of his professional or athletic accomplishments. He walked the walk every day, modeling his values of hard work, integrity, doing your best, education and caring for others. He was always there for his family. Coaching youth sports, pulling kids waterskiing despite his questionable boat operation, hours of patience on the bunny hill, serving as the Wildwood bat catcher where he was dad to all, taking the Naughties on fun trips (sorry Adam, Kevin and Mike) and sharing stories with grandchildren. Mike loved golf. He particularly enjoyed playing with a group of long-time friends Floyd Hall, F. Ross Johnson and Jack Twyman that LPGA player Nancy Lopez famously nick-named "The Buffaloes" and was a founder of the Spring Hill Golf Club. Mike is survived by his beloved wife Judy, his first wife Susan Guzy Wright and their children, Jennifer (Charlie Krupanszky) Wright, Molly Wright (Paul) Reppenhagen, Julie Wright Card, and Adam (Hunter) Wright; step-children, Kevin O'Shea and Kelly (John) Harrington. Grandchildren Samantha, Michael, and Camden Wright, Sophie and John Krupanszky, Ben, Lauren, and Chloe Reppenhagen, Caroline, A.J., and Matthew Card, Morrison, Winnie, and Palmer Wright, and Parker, Davis and Judith Harrington. His sister Nancy. He is preceded in death by his parents, brother Thomas, and son Michael B. The family would like to express their gratitude to Jane Schwartzman and her team Grace Chiluba, Katie Struve, Felicia Ford, and Laya Osbourne for their loving care. Special thanks to Mary Hallman for her love and friendship, and to Carol Graham for her extraordinary assistance. Funeral service 11:30am February 1st with visitation beginning at 10:00am at the Basilica of St. Mary Hennepin Avenue at 17th Street. In lieu of flowers, memorials may made to Team 8 Inc. A non-profit founded by Mike's son Michael B. Wright dedicated to Kidney Cancer Research. https://climb4kc.org/ or sent to Team 8 Inc. 6440 City West Parkway, Eden Prairie, MN 55344. www.washburn-mcreavy.com Edina Chapel 952-920-3996
Published in Pioneer Press from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1, 2020
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