1927 ~ 2017
Dr. Orson D. Wright, beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend passed away on July 5 th , 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Patricia, Parents (Orson and Pearl), brother-in-law (James Reading,). Survived by sons: David (Dianne), Stephen (Wendy), Michael (Jill), twelve grandchildren and three great grandchildren, sister Lorna Reading, sister-in-law Cathy Taylor (John).
He was born March 13, 1928 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Orson Pettit Wright and Pearl Davis Wright. He attended Uintah Elementary, Roosevelt Jr High School, and East High School in SLC. He was active in sports, school activities, and in the orchestra. He went on to study at the University of Utah receiving B.S. Degrees in Zoology and Chemistry.
There he was a member and officer of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and later of the Delta Phi returned missionary fraternity. Having nearly finished his college education, he accepted a missionary call from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to serve in Australia after which he returned to graduate from the University of Utah in 1951.
Orson met his eternal sweetheart, Patricia Anne Pearson, at the U of U and they were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on March 16, 1951 and enjoyed a wonderful union for 63 years before she passed away in Dec, 2014. They left shortly after their marriage to attend Washington University School of Dentistry in Missouri, Graduating in 1955 with highest honors. Following graduation he served two years as a captain in the U. S. Air force at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base at Cheyenne Wyoming, where he increased his skills in many areas of dentistry.
Returning home to Salt Lake City, he opened his dental practice that extended nearly fifty years. From 1960 to 1978 he served as the Utah State Dental Director. As Dental Director he set up programs to teach physicians, nurses and teachers to teach dental care to others. In conjunction with specialists from the school district he wrote manuals used in the schools by the teachers to teach their students. He helped set up dentists in the counties where they were needed. Orson was able to revitalize the Dental and Medical community positions in Emery County and he brought dental care into Monument Valley by arranging with Loma Linda University Dental School to send students there to practice as part of their education. He was a member of the Monument Valley Hospital Board.
As Dental Director for Utah he worked under the direction of the Governor and with Dr. Lynn Powell from the University of Washington in Seattle to set up a regional dental program for Utah for ten dental students to start their dental program at the U of U medical school and then finish at the U of Washington school of dentistry. Later Creighton University became the dental school where the students finished. He was a member and the secretary of the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors and the Association of Dental Health Officers, the U.S. Association of Public Health Dentist and served on several evaluation committees. . He served as Vice President of the Health Systems Agency and of the State Health Coordinating Council in the 1970's.
He served on two governors committees on health and assisted in evaluations of many dental schools and institutions. He organized and taught many classes with teachers in Utah and compiled a Teacher's Guide for Teachers of Utah and wrote a manual for dental care in nursing homes and for the handicapped.
He donated much time giving dental care to the indigent, homeless, disabled and others. He enjoyed giving care as a member of the staff of the LDS, University and Primary Children's Hospitals. Early in his career he participated in service to community. He served as a State and National officer and on the board for the U.S. Jaycees. He was awarded the "Most Outstanding Young Man" by the U.S. Jaycees at the age of 35 in 1963. He was a member of Rotary International Participating in many community activities. He served as President of the Cancer Society in Utah and the Board of the Utah unit of the American Heart Association and Lung association.
One of the most rewarding was his service over 52 years as a member of the National Society of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers wherein he served as the National President in 1972-1973 and as President of the Past National Presidents for eleven years. As the Director of the SUP Pioneer Village in Salt Lake he managed the sale of the Village and its transfer to Lagoon in 1976. With the proceeds he was able to promote the building of the SUP headquarters office and Building at the mouth of Parleys canyon. He directed the placement of the Pioneer Memorial Monument ("All is Well") at the Brigham Young grave site for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
He was very active in Scouting. He served as high council member over scouting, district scouting leader, and vice president of GSL scout council. He attended Philmont ranch, received the Silver Beaver award, and served as president of the Silver Beavers.
Striving to make his community stronger, he participated in politics as district chairman, local and state-wide positions and a member of the state Republican Executive committee. He led the East Valley Chamber of Commerce as Chairman of the Board.
Being very active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he has served in many capacities as teacher, quorum leader, branch president, member of district presidency, bishopric member, bishop, high councilor, missionary, stake missions, mission president, SL temple ordinance worker, and temple square tour guide for 20 years.
Orson loved his wife, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. His most beautiful times were those spent with his family and loved ones.
He shares his testimony of the truth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and its restoration.
His viewing will be held at Wasatch Lawns Memorial (3401 Highland Drive) on Thursday July 13th from 6-8 pm and the his funeral will be held at the Mount Olympus Stake Center on 4176 Adonis Drive on Friday July 14th with a viewing at 11 am and the funeral at 1:00 pm.
Published by Deseret News from Jul. 9 to Jul. 13, 2017.