Wright, John

WRIGHT, Jr., John John Walter Wright Jr. departed this earthly life after a battle with pulmonary fibrosis. John was born May 30, 1941 in Madisonville, Kentucky to Augusta Mae Jackson and John Walter Wright. His father taught him the value of a dollar and an honest day of work, plowing the family farm fields for 25 cents a day and lending a hand at the coal mining operation. As a teen, John mastered the skills of outdoor survival en route to earning the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout. Notably, he was a stellar athlete, earning honors as an All-State End at Madisonville High School. His senior year, he helped lead the Maroons to an All-Classification State Championship and was later inducted into the school's Athletic Hall-of-Fame. After turning down a scholarship offer from Alabama's Bear Bryant, John opted instead to play for the legendary Bobby Dodd at the Georgia Institute of Technology. While there, he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Management, was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, and went on to become a life-long Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket. During his freshman year, he met Atlanta Debutante Joanne Lockhart Werner. The two wed in 1964. After a short stint working with the Illinois Central Railroad and living in Chicago, the yearning for a warmer climate and family brought them back to Atlanta. John then joined Safway Steel Scaffolds Company of Georgia (Saf-T-Green), a family company co-founded by his father-in-law in 1939. He and other family members grew the company to be a leader in the scaffolding and shoring industry, with offices in several cities throughout the South. The company was sold in 1986 to the British conglomerate BET PLC, and John soon after retired. John was a man of exceptional character, strong in stature and kind in heart. He was a "together forever" husband and an actively engaged father who served as a patient and ever-present source of comfort to his children. He was a scout troop leader and coached youth soccer, hockey, and football teams. John was a prodigious handyman and skilled-carpenter. He had a knack for special reasoning and could pack a car like no other. John loved to cook breakfast, a tradition that he learned from his father and passed down to his children. The local breakfast buffets always had a slow day when John was behind the home griddle. He and Joanne shared a mutual love for nature and the outdoors, often expressed through their green thumbs in the garden and an endless compassion for animals, including his treasured pet cats and koi fish. Together, they completed multiple bicycle rides across Georgia (BRAG) and took cycling tours throughout North America. Their greatest cycling accomplishment was crossing the continental divide twice. In addition to being the captain of the family, he also served as captain of the fabled "Buzzy Bee" pontoon boat on Lake Chatuge. He most enjoyed spending time with his six grandchildren and mentoring them with profound nuggets of wisdom. His most remembered adage was "If it's to be, it's up to me." Indeed, he was a shining example of how to live life the "Wright" way. He was preceded in death by by his parents and is survived by his wife Joanne, his sister Mary Lu Mitchell (Wade) of Atlanta, GA, his three children and their spouses, Mary Elizabeth Westbrook (Jack) of Chattanooga, TN, John Walter Wright III (Ginny) of New York, NY, and Charles Werner Wright (Christie) of Atlanta, GA, and his six grandchildren Jackson and Laura Westbrook, William and Katherine Wright, and Scott and Christopher Wright. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a graveside service with immediate family will be held at Arlington Memorial Park in Sandy Springs, Georgia. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in John's name to the Georgia Tech Athletic Association Alexander-Tharpe Fund.