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Resident will be greatly missed by family, friends

By Staff | Feb 11, 2011

A man who was known to many as sincere and genuine, Clarence “Bones” Wright, 87, passed away Monday, Feb. 7.

The McMechen, W.Va. native settled in Shepherdstown in 1951 with his wife Mary Louise to raise their family of four. The two became active in the community as well as their church.

The Rev. Randall Tremba, who will preside over Wright’s service, met him in 1975. Tremba said “Bones” was “a true and faithful servant” of the Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church – holding positions like Deacon, Elder, usher, among other posts.

Another quality Tremba recalls is Wright’s taking individuals under his wing.

Malcolm Ater can speak to that experience.

“He was my best friend,” Ater said.

After his own father died in 1992, Wright became like a second father to Ater.

Wright served as Ater’s best man at his wedding, and Ater said his friend was always looking out for him – and others.

“He was a great friend and a great friend to so many other people.”

And it was that type of attitude and caring that others remember about “Bones.”

Shepherdstown residents Georgia Lee McElhaney and Jim Price remember Wright’s tenacity to get members from the black community jobs at the Newton D. Baker VA Medical Center, where he was director of personnel until 1988.

“He did things for everybody, and he didn’t want anybody to know he was doing things for them,” McElhaney said.

“A lot of people in town really did think ‘Bones’ was their guardian angel,” Price said.

“Clarence was very fair-minded. He wasn’t prejudice,” Ater said.

Besides being a school principal in Shenandoah Junction, Wright also served as Shepherdstown mayor for four terms between 1964 and 1980.

Tremba said one of Wright’s biggest accomplishments was establishing the water plant.

“That’s a feather in his cap as mayor,” he said.

Ater said Wright is truly responsible from taking Shepherdstown from the 19th to the 20th century, even though he served as mayor during the latter part of the 1900s.

“If he hadn’t been mayor when he was, I’m sure by the turn of the century we’d still be a very small town,” he said.

Ater said Wright was responsible for getting the town its very first patrol car.

“It was just kind of the idealistic small country town,” Ater said.

Mayor Jim Auxer also noticed Wright’s love for Shepherdstown.

‘”Bones” Wright cared for his community. His duties as mayor required time and effort, and his commitment to Shepherdstown has not gone unnoticed,” he said. “The town offers sincere condolences to his family.”

Also an active member in the local masonic lodge, Wright was master of the Mt. Nebo Masonic Lodge in Shepherdstown.

“In 2007, he became a 50-year member of our lodge,” said George Alwin, current master of the lodge.

Ater, who will wear Wright’s mason ring at the memorial service Saturday, hopes to see a plaque honoring the man he looked up to outside the lodge or along German Street someday.

Wright – who was preceded in death by his parents, wife and one brother – is survived by a brother, Donald A. “Abe” Wright of Huntington; his children Richard Wright and wife Lida of Perry Hall, Md.; Anita Wright Cawley and husband George of Forty Fort, Pa.; Rebecca Wright Hutchinson of Martinsburg; and Mary Ellen Wright-Lloyd and husband Greg of Shepherdstown. He also leaves 11 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and many beloved nieces, nephews and friends.

The family will receive visitors at the Brown Funeral Home, King Street, Martinsburg today from 7 to 9 p.m. A memorial service will be held at Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church on Saturday, Feb. 12 at 2 p.m.

Tremba, who has been gathering anecdotes from friends and family of Wright’s, put it simply.

“Others would regard him as salt to the earth.”