FORT WORTH, Texas — Herschel C. Wright, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, teacher, and mentor went peacefully to his Lord on Sunday, May 3, 2020, at the age of 86.
Herschel was born on November 2, 1933, in Mayfield, Graves County, Kentucky, the son of Jay William Wright and Marie Wallace Wright. He met Pat, his future wife of 68 years, during their first year at Washington Elementary School, when they were both just 5 years old. Herschel and Pat grew up together, became close friends, and ultimately fell in love.
Herschel and Pat were married in March of 1952, and two years later, in the summer of 1954, they packed up their infant son and moved west to Fort Worth, where Herschel had a job waiting for him at Safeway’s milk plant. Not long after, he enrolled at Texas Wesleyan College, where he obtained his B.A. in English and Spanish. In so doing, Herschel established the pattern that would guide the rest of his life: working long hours to provide for Pat and their three sons, Mark, Alan, and Stuart; continuing to enhance his skills through education; and helping others through his lifetime career as an educator.
Herschel was never one to shy away from good hard work.
After graduating from TWC and while continuing to work at Safeway, Herschel began teaching English at Paschal High School and other high schools in Fort Worth, embarking upon what would become a 32-year career with the Fort Worth ISD. He subsequently returned to college to obtain his Master of Education from North Texas State College and his Deaf Education certification from Texas Woman’s University. This prepared him for his next life phase: teaching deaf students at Fort Worth’s Trimble Technical High School and serving as a Vocational Adjustment Coordinator to help these students transition from school into employment with local companies. Herschel was proficient in American Sign Language and continued to use it throughout his life.
Somehow, in the rare quiet moments between multiple jobs and raising three sons, Herschel and Pat also attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, planning to become missionaries. Herschel became an ordained Baptist minister, and when the eligibility requirements to serve as missionaries overseas changed, he and Pat chose instead to make Fort Worth their mission field. They raised their sons in the Baptist church and later joined Broadway Baptist, where they are still members. Both Herschel and Pat contributed their time and talents to the charitable work of the Optimist Club of Fort Worth, participating in numerous fundraisers and outreach service projects. Herschel served as Treasurer for the Optimist Club as well as for the Fort Worth Retired School Employees Association. In addition, Pat and Herschel were actively involved with the Sister Cities program and took groups of students to Japan and to Italy.
Herschel, known by many as “Mister” (a name given to him by his first granddaughter), was a soft-spoken and kind-hearted man of few, but always profoundly meaningful, words. His soulful blue eyes were the windows to his big heart and often exposed his tendency to tear up with the depth of his emotions. He deeply loved his family, his friends, his students, his sweet cat Charlie Bud, gatherings filled with good hearty laughter, his hobby of photography, and classic country western music, especially that of Chet Atkins. He also made a mean bowl of chili, as memorialized in Cooking the Wright Way, a cookbook that he and Pat authored and published. Herschel will be deeply and dearly missed by all who had the good fortune to know him.
For the past 13 months, Herschel put up a valiant fight to overcome complications resulting from surgery to remove a life-threatening but benign meningioma. He met these extremely challenging times with the same quiet strength and good nature that characterized the rest of his life.
Herschel is survived by his wife, Pat; sons, Mark (Nancy), Alan (Jenny), and Stuart (Tami); sister, Norma Jean Moubray, and brother, Larry Wright (Brenda) of Paducah, KY; granddaughters, Sarah Shelden (Todd), Heather Andis (Chris), and Susannah Wright; grandson, Ethan Weil; five great-grandchildren, Avery, Zackary, and Matthew Shelden, and Caitlin and Benjamin Andis; seven nieces, Debbie, Michelle, Pam, Vicki, Jayne, Lori, and Jennifer; “exchange son,” Hirosuke Usui (Naomi); and many much-loved friends and former students.
He was preceded in death by his parents and by his brother, Kenny Ray Wright of Farmington, Kentucky.
A private church service and interment will be held in Fort Worth with a Celebration of Life to take place at a future date when it is safe to gather.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, those who wish to remember Herschel in a special way may make gifts in his memory to support the Optimist Club of Fort Worth Youth Fund, Inc., P.O. Box 101163, Fort Worth, Texas 76185 (www.optimistclubfortworth.org/donate), or the Fort Worth Regional Day School for the Deaf Alumni Association (www.fwrdsdaa.org), or another charity of your choice.
Personal memories or condolences may be sent to the Wright family care of Greenwood Chapel.