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John Edward Wright, 91, died peacefully on September 13, 2021, at his home in Buffalo, Minnesota from heart and kidney failure.

John dedicated his life to God, to his wife, to his family, and to teaching.

He was baptized and confirmed at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cokato, Minnesota and was an active member of the Lutheran Church all his life, most recently at Zion Lutheran in Buffalo. He eagerly shared his deep Christian faith as a Stephen minister and with all who crossed his path.

John married Marie Olson, who he adored since he was fifteen years old on December 27, 1950, at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Dassel. They have been committed to each other for more than seventy years, raising a family, traveling, and making music. Whenever they cared for grandchildren, John was ready with a list of entertaining activities, often scribbled on a scrap of paper the size of a matchbook.

The last several years John devoted his life to caring for Marie, who had struggled with dementia until she passed away just three days before he did.

John graduated from Cokato High School in 1948, went to Gustavus Adolphus for one year, and transferred to the University of Minnesota where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Arts degree in vocational agriculture. He taught five years at Kerkhoven, Minnesota and another twenty-five at Worthington High School and Community College. He was the 1972-73 Minnesota Teacher of the Year, and he received the American Farmer degree, the WCCO Good Neighbor award, and the 2012 Wright County Outstanding Senior Citizen award. Many of his former students have visited him to express their appreciation for how he mentored them in their careers. He was an Eagle Scout and a charter member of Buffalo Kiwanis.

He loved music, playing a Coke bottle with the “Bottleers” at the Cokato Corn Carnival, playing clarinet and harmonica in high school, singing in the choir, and learning to play the guitar after retirement so he could entertain local nursing home residents with Marie on the keyboard.

John is survived by his three sons, David (Susan) Wright of Buffalo, James Wright of Maple Lake, Daniel (Anita) Wright of West Plains, MO; a brother, Dean (Kathryn) Wright of Burlington, NC; a sister, Mary Jeanne Olander of McMinnville, OR; grandchildren, Tristan (Sarah) Wright of Raleigh, NC, Eric (Julisa) Wright of Longview, WA, Spencer (Kristine) Wright of Annandale, Mikayla Wright of West Plains, MO; and many affectionate nieces, nephews, and great-grandchildren.

He is preceded in death by his loving wife, Marie (Olson) Wright; his father, Ernest Lester Wright; and his mother, Adalyn (Eckstrom) Wright.

Please direct memorials to the Zion Lutheran Church Foundation in Buffalo, Park View Care Center in Buffalo, or All Kids Can Learn International—Villages of Hope in Zambia.

A celebration of life is planned for both John and Marie on Thursday, September 30, 2021, at Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo, Minnesota. Visitation will begin at 9:30 AM. The service will be at 11:00 followed by lunch and reception. The family will be assisted by the Peterson Chapel in Buffalo.

6 Guestbook Entries

  1. Nila Bursheim

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you for the loss of two great people. I worked with John at Gordy’s Foods. Two very friendly people now pain free in Heaven. My sympathy to all of you.

  2. Jerry Wiertzema

    I would like to give my deepest sympathy to the family of John Wright. Mr. Wright was my shop teacher in Worthington Mn. for the school year of 1964/1965. Of all the teachers I ever had, Mr Wright was hands down, the best teacher I ever had. He was one of the nicest men I have ever known. Heaven is a better place with Mr. Wright there. So Mr. Wright RIP, you will be missed.

  3. Wendy Strom O'Neil

    I had Mr Wright for homeroom at WHS for three years. It was great “climbing the metal stairs” each day. He was a fantastic teacher and man. Sympathies to the family at the loss of your parents.

  4. David Graff

    Sorry for your lost! He was a great teacher!

  5. Bonnie (Dammer) Breuer

    Mr Wright was always one of my favorite teachers. I learned a lot from him. He will be missed by alot of people. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Wright Family.

  6. Mark Ruesch

    John Wright was a very great guy , neighbor ,Ag teacher , FFA Advisor, one of the best kids joined FFA because of the way he taught and cared. Judging teams. John and Marie great people will be missed by loved ones but now are celebrating again. Thank you John and Marie.


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