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Donald Wright – Storm Lake Times Pilot

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Donald Wright – Storm Lake Times Pilot

Donald (LeRoy) Wright was born on Dec. 4, 1942 at Porath Clinic in Storm Lake, to Mary Robinson Wright and Donald Wright. He was raised on a farm near Schaller. He attended elementary school at Cook #3 Country School near Schaller and high school at Schaller Community School. After graduating high school in 1961, he attended the University of South Dakota. He graduated from USD with BA in commercial art in 1965.

LeRoy married his wife of nearly 56 years, Linda Graybill on Aug. 13, 1966 in Battle Creek. The two met at a sweet 16 birthday party for one of Linda’s classmates. LeRoy and Linda had three children: Brad, Brendt and Laurie.

LeRoy taught art and English at West Monona School District in Onawa for four years. He spent the remaining 28 years of his career teaching ninth grade English at Harlan Community High School in Harlan. “Mr. Wright,” who will be fondly remembered by so many former students, as a strict, yet fair teacher, retired in 2000.

Whether he was known as LeRoy, Donald, Don or Mr. Wright, all who knew him would agree he was a wonderful man. Most would describe him as a man who loved his family. His love extended from his Grandma McCoy to his great-grandkids and everyone in between. LeRoy could be described as serious, meticulous, organized, fair, quiet and sometimes (often) impatient. He was witty, smart, talented, creative and musical. He was a passionate collector of all things.

LeRoy’s hobbies over the years were many. He enjoyed playing the piano and fiddle. Formal piano lessons as a child ended once he’d learned the tunes and chose to play songs in his own key (much to the disdain of his instructor). He also enjoyed collecting and recording old time country, bluegrass and cajun music. Over the years, he played fiddle and piano with family and friends at various dances, fairs, festivals and home jam sessions. He was in a three-member band named the “Skeeter Creek Players.” The band members met at an annual country music festival in southwest Iowa, where he was eventually inducted into the American Old Time Fiddlers Hall of Fame in 1998.

He had a collection of books that would rival the community library. LeRoy had multiple collector barns, which he designed, including a replica of the barn on the farm where he was raised. He spent hours on end accessorizing the barns and was proud to display and show them off to family and friends. Other hobbies included: researching his genealogy, scrapbooking and collecting Marilyn Monroe memorabilia. He was often accompanied by his grandchildren when shopping for treasures related to his many passions. Many of his artistic traits can also be seen in his children and grandchildren.

LeRoy died peacefully, with family by his side, at Myrtue Medical Center in Harlan on July 28, 2022.

He was preceded in death by his parents Mary and Don Wright; and sister Arlene (Wright) Dailey.

Left to cherish his memory include his wife Linda of Harlan; son Brad (Brenda) Wright of Harlan; son Brendt (Jennifer) Wright of Portsmouth; daughter Laurie (Justin) Smith of Sergeant Bluff; grandchildren: Britni Wright of Harlan; Caitlyn (Drew) Becker of Avoca; Megan Gettys of Harlan; Shelby Gettys of Midland, Mich.; Taylor Wright of Harlan; Cheyenne (Brandon Patterson) Wright of Brown Deer, Wis.; Alanah (Ben) Wright of Harlan; McKenna Allmon or Odebolt; Tessa Smith of Iowa City; Tyler Smith of Sergeant Bluff; eight great-grandchildren: Maliyah, Colby, Wyatt, Hazel, Elliana, Nora, Broderick and Maya; brother Ronald Wright of Schaller; sister Shirley (Ralph) Doran of Harlan; sisters-in-law: Carol and Dennis Rangel of Orland Park, Ill.; Mary and Kyle Richardson of Leander, Texas; many other family members, colleagues and friends.

Services for LeRoy will be held Sunday, Aug. 7 at First United Methodist Church in Harlan. Visitation will begin at 1 pm with a memorial service being held at 3:30 pm Pauley Jones Funeral Home in Harlan is in charge of the arrangements.



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