TALLAHASSEE - WilsonWalkerWright, 91, died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, September 2, 2021 at his home in Tallahassee. Wilson was born in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, January 26, 1930 to Laura Gertrude “June” Wright and Chester MaynardWright. He attended Sidwell-Friends School in Spring and Fall inWashington andMorningside Elementary in Miami in Winter, and was graduated fromMiami EdisonHigh School in 1948 where he played the trumpet in the Red Raiders Marching Band and was on the school newspaper and yearbook staffs. His first job was with theMiamiHerald where he“threw” newspapersallthroughJuniorandSeniorHighSchool. Wilsonattended THE University of Florida was amember of the Pride of the Sunshine State University of FloridaMarching Band (simply to attend Gator Football games!) wrote for the Seminole Yearbook and was BusinessManager for the Florida Alligator Newspaper, active in numerous Clubs and Service Organizations, a member of the USAir Force ROTC and an Honorary Member of Florida Blue Key. He transferred to the University ofMiami, where he was initiated in Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, and was graduated from the University Law School in 1954. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the JudgeAdvocate General’s Office as a First Lieutenant at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver CO where he served his entire commitment and attained the rank of Captain in the Air Force Reserve. It was during his years at UF when he met the love of his life Patricia charging her $2 for a ride in his first convertible fromMiami to Gainesville to visit her (then) boyfriend. He and Pat married onMay 14, 1955 while serving in Denver. After his honorable discharge from the Air Force, they intended to return to Miami to practice law. Instead, he came to Tallahassee for a brief assignment in the Attorney General’s office under Attorney General Richard Ervin. He and Pat came to love Tallahassee and made it their permanent residence. Wilson served 13 years in theAG’s Office and left to become Partners withWilliam J. Roberts. He lobbied for many groups; the Florida DentalHygienists, the StateAssociation of Supervisors of Elections, and over 20 years for the Florida Tobacco and Candy Association. He and Pat enjoyed the many years of attending and chairing numerous events and conventions for the associations and became famous for their “lobster dinners” for legislators at their home on Lake Jackson.
Wilson was a member of the Florida Bar and numerous Regional and National Bar Associations for 67 years held court admissions to all state and federal courts from trial court to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Wilson never missed an opportunity to join service organizationsHe was a Jaycee and helped start the annual Fourth of July Festivities at Lake Ella and engaged Cypress Gardens to bring boats and water skiers to the event. Jaycees became Kiwanians andWilson served many offices including State President, he had a perfect attendance record; attending Kiwanis Club meetings on vacations to protect his record. After 45 plus years, when his club began meeting at 7:30AM, Wilson joined Rotary Club International to keep attending noontime meetings. As President for Florida Young Democrats, during one national convention he had the privilege of stepping onto an elevator with John F. Kennedy and of course had a photograph taken and sent it to the White House for autographing. Wilson was also an active member of the Florida Economic Club, Tiger Bay, Friends of Lake Jackson, many others.
The true passion of Wilson’s life was boats: any boat! His first date with Pat was on a sailboat while “working” to sail in the infield of the Hialeah Race Track. As a child he spent summers in Laconia, New Hampshire, again “working” on a large farm, and fell in love with Chris Craft wooden boats. He was a member of the Chris Craft Antique Boat Club and became Executive Director of the group, wrote, edited and published their quarterly publication, The Brass Bell, for over 25 years. He and Pat enjoyed attending Classic Boat Shows across the country for years. His favorite shows were held at Lake Tahoe, Lake Rabun and dear to his heart is the annual show in Mt. Dora.
Wilson is also known for his red 1970 Cutlass-Oldsmobile Convertible which he could easily be recognized driving with the top down from 1971 until it was stolen at a Rotary Club Luncheon at FSU’s Alumni Center in 2019. This truly broke his heart and he was re-born when it was found and returned to him just in time for his 90th birthday in 2020.
Wilson never met a stranger and kept in touch in person and through letters and a Christmas Card Mailing List of almost 500 names.
Wilson is a man of deep faith and became a member of the Episcopal Church of theAdvent in 1962. He served many positions and served twice as SeniorWarden of the church. He and Pat regularly attended The Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Carrabelle, where both Wrights served on the Mission Board, called themselves theAA (Advent& Ascension) Episcopalians.
Primary in his life was Pat and their large family. He adored Christmas; hung a light on every leaf, branch, doorway and window and even put a lighted Christmas tree on their dock in Lake Jackson. He made certain everyone received every gift on their list. One year he dressed as Santa and rode around the lake in his antique Chris Craft Boat!
Wilson is survived by his wife of 66 years, Pat; his eldest daughter, June Wright and her husband Jack Richardson; and his “baby” Lee AnneWright. He was a proud, doting grandfather toWilson, Michael and James Richardson and Cory and AlexWalker; sister-in-Law, Beverly Ivester, a step- niece, Susan Handy Blasco, many nieces, nephews, more friends than can be counted and averyspecialcaregiver,DenisePhillips. Hewasprecededindeathbyhis parents and a half sister, ElaineWright Handy, and a half-brother, Donald Wright.
Funeral Services will be held Friday, September 10, 2021 at 2:00pm at the Episcopal Church of the Advent on Piedmont Drive in Tallahassee with the inurnment immediately following at Roselawn Cemetery. For those who are unable to attend the service, it will be livestreamed at www.facebook.com/ adventchurchtallahassee A reception will follow in the Church Parish Hall. Masking and social distancing are suggested and heartily endorsed.
Memorial Contributions may be made to the Episcopal Church of the Advent or Episcopal Church of the Ascension or a favorite charity of your choice.
Rocky Bevis of Bevis FuneralHome (850-385-2193 or www.bevisfh.com) is assisting theWright family with their arrangements.