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Alan DeWolfe Wright, devoted husband, father and grandfather, passed away on March 16 at the age of 93, having resided in Waite Hill Village since 1971. Born in Youngstown, Ohio on October 11, 1929, Alan’s proudest accomplishments were his extended family, his 55 years of employment, the many people whom he mentored and his lifetime study of baseball and jazz, which he began listening to and collecting at age 6. Alan was known for his passion for life, his epic sense of humor, his explosive laughter, his love for the arts, and his devotion to his wife, Gloria, with whom he shared the best part of his journey for more than 33 years.
Gloria Wright recalls that Alan’s fierce work ethic began during World War Two, when at age 14 he received an exemption that allowed him to work in Cleveland’s steel mills. Alan entered Kenyon College at age 17, pledged as a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, and became drama critic for the Kenyon Collegian. One of his first reviews panned fellow student and aspiring actor Paul Newman, which led to an argument and a life-long friendship. When drafted into the Army during the Korean War, Alan declined to enter Officer Candidacy School, and instead became a AAA-gunner in a heavy-weapons platoon, achieving the rank of corporal, while deploying to Okinawa, Japan.
After his return from the Army, Alan became a full-time management trainee at Clevite Corporation, while also entering night law-school and starting his family. He passed the Ohio Bar in 1959 and co-founded the firm Skok, Byron, Freed and Wright, practicing law for the next 48 years. In 1960 Alan and his partners ran Fred V. Skok’s successful campaign for Lake County Prosecuting Attorney -- a campaign that included bringing John F. Kennedy to deliver a stump speech at Hellriegel’s Inn in Painesville. While Kennedy lost the state, Alan and his partners won Lake County, and he became assistant county prosecutor. In 1969 the mayor of Cleveland appointed Alan to head the Administration of Justice Committee and supervise the construction of the city’s landmark Justice Center Complex. In 1972 he joined First Energy, serving as general counsel and vice-president during a period of intense political and regulatory conflict, which Alan relished. He also thrived in his related position as a lobbyist in Columbus, Ohio and Washington D.C., and was sought after for his political guidance by candidates as diverse as Republican Dan Quayle and Democrat Tom Harkin. In 1989, Wright joined the Cleveland office of Porter Wright Morris and Arthur, retiring in 2006 at the age of 76.
He was a member of the Lake County, Cleveland, and Ohio Bar Associations. His personal highlights as an attorney included his admission to the Supreme Court of the United States, his lifetime membership and work with the N.A.A.C.P, his role in incorporating the Cleveland Free Clinic, a national model for no-cost health care in high-risk communities, and his pioneering work as Director of Court Management Project for the Cleveland Bar Association, where he created a model program to computerize the court dockets in Cleveland and vastly speed the pace of justice for criminal defendants.
Alan resided in Lake County since 1959. Those who knew him for his encyclopedic knowledge of cocktails, Shakespeare, GB Shaw, H. L Mencken, Fats Waller, night clubs, and rowdy characters in general, might be surprised to learn that Alan was an avid hiker and canoer. He served on many boards, as suited his diverse interests, including the Cleveland Botanical Garden, Public Radio station WCPN, Lake Erie College, Lakeland Community College, The Holden Arboretum, Lake Metro Parks and Lake Hospital where he was the first Chair of its Foundation Board. In Columbus, he was on the board of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Public Expenditure Council. He served as Chair of the Annual Fund at Kenyon College in 1980-81. In Waite Hill he was a member of the Charter Commission and the Land Conservancy Board. His longest service was on the board of the Fine Arts Association in Willoughby from 1973 until 2000, when he became Trustee Emeritus. Alan attended St Hubert's Episcopal Church since 1973 and headed the congregation twice as Senior Warden.
In addition to his beloved wife, Gloria, he leaves his sons, Walter Wilson Wright (Judy) and Evan Alan Wright (Kelli), his daughters Nora Wright, Kate Gaylord (Dave Ungar), Becky Gaylord and Jennifer Mitchell (Stephen), grandsons Matthew and Jacob Goldin, Robie Alex Mitchell, Milo and Maxwell McDonald, Carter Majestic and Evan Alan Wright Jr. and Granddaughters Lila and Iris Wright, Becca and Margaret Mitchell. He is also survived by his sister, Constance Brown and sister-in-law Barbara Garver, as well as many nieces and nephews.
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