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Bernard E. Wright, 87, died December 20, 2010.  He was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan on December 6, 1923 to Dr. “Doc” Harold Elmer Wright, DVM  and Marian Louise Voorhees, artist.  He was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Zita Marie Liberatae, his son, Bernard Jan Wright (2007), and his grandson, Cameron Wright (1984).


Bernie graduated from Ypsilanti Normal School and Ann Arbor High School, and was an active Boy Scout into his college years. Because he believed that God and country came first, he went to enlist in the Navy Air Corps on December 8, 1941 - 2 days after his 18th birthday.  He entered the service through the Signal Corps, and served in the European theatre as part of an engineering unit in the Army.  In 1949, he received a Bachelors of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan, where he was a member of the Chi Phi fraternity. He then earned a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan in 1952.   


Bernie was a fly fisherman; his favorite fishing spot was on the Au Sable River in his native Michigan.  He also loved to hunt, canoe and camp. During his youth, he led a group of Boy Scouts on a three week canoe trip which began in Lake Huron and ended in Lake Michigan, via the Straits of Mackinac.  In his later years, he befriended cardinals and chipmunks, feeding them by hand. He looked forward to summer vacations in Pentwater, Michigan.


In addition to being an outdoorsman, Bernie was a sharp bridge player and golfer.  He was keenly interested in the financial markets and the U.S. economy.  He shared an intellectual interest in Native American history and culture with his wife Zita, and with her, sponsored “The Rock” historical marker on Lake Shore Drive honoring the forced march of the Potawatomi.  


His civic contributions include financial guidance for the Holy Family school bus operation, and serving on the Board of Directors of the James B. Millikin Trust.  He was a founding member of Holy Family Parish and School and a longtime member of both the Decatur Country Club and the Decatur Club.


Bernie loved to work with his hands and over several years, he finished the lower level of his 1916 home and landscaped the surrounding hills by constructing cement walls (otherwise known as the Great Wall of Wright) with block that came from the rubble of the streets and sidewalks of Decatur.


He lived the American Dream from farm boy to board room, a completely self-made man. Bernie’s career began as a typesetter and pressman with the Detroit Free Press. In 1952 he relocated to Decatur to work in operations for the Decatur Herald & Review.  His career culminated as Executive Vice President for Lindsay-Schaub Newspapers.  He served as President of the Inland Daily Press Association and authored cost studies that were renowned in the industry. He was a guest lecturer for the Northwestern University School of Journalism and the American Press Institute, and a consultant to Hearst Newspapers and the IRS.


Post retirement, Bernie purchased Full Cry, a leading tree dog magazine, and continued his consulting work for the publishing industry.  He cultivated a bountiful truck garden and raised livestock on a farm in Osbernville.  He and his wife volunteered for the International Executive Service Corp with assignments in Jamaica, Colombia and Ecuador.  Although he had many opportunities to live elsewhere, he felt Decatur was a good place to raise a family and to live out his remaining years.


He is survived by his brother Donald F. Wright of Traverse City, MI, and children: Colette W. Peterson of Georgetown, Texas; Louise W. Greene of Decatur, Illinois; Christopher M. Wright of Arlington, Virginia; Michelle W. Cocker (Robert) of Apple Valley, Minnesota; and Lisette M. F. Wright of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  His grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Ted Peterson (Ashley) of Austin, Texas; Sari Peterson Hartzler (Robert and son Witten) of Rochester, Minnesota; Meili Peterson Corbin (Matthew and son Benjamin) of Dallas, Texas;  Travis Wright of Denver, Colorado; Abigail Wright of Houston, Texas; Sarah Greene Lopez of Watsonville, California; Kristen Greene of Decatur, Illinois; Robert Greene of Madison, Wisconsin; and Robert L. Collins of Decatur, Illinois (great-grandson); Corey, Caitlin, and Meredith Cocker of Apple Valley, Minnesota.  He also leaves behind Sister Ma. Aurora G. Santos, aci, his AFS daughter from the Philippines, and the AFS family Tacsan of San Jose, Costa Rica.


He instilled values of integrity, hard work and best efforts, privacy, intellectual curiosity, love of travel, and personal accountability in each of his children.   


The family wishes to express its gratitude to the owners, administration and staff of Imboden Creek Living Center for their professional, compassionate care and for the respectful and gentle relationship they had with Bernie. They were truly the wind beneath his wings during his last eighteen months, enabling him to live with dignity until he died. The family also thanks the Thomas Hjort family for unselfishly sharing Gina over many years, and to Dr. Keith Smith, M.D. for his professional care and humane practicality.


Memorial contributions can be made to the American Indian College Fund, 8333 Greenwood Blvd., Denver, CO 80221.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be at Holy Family Parish at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, December 29, 2010, with visitation beginning at 9:30 a.m., followed by a private graveside service at Mt. Gilead Cemetery. Funeral arrangements are by Dawson Wikoff West Wood Street Funeral Home. Messages of condolence may be sent to the family at


Bernie, a newspaperman to the last, long knew that one day his obituary would appear in this newspaper.  The man who began as a typesetter and pressman is checking for typographical errors and appropriate, consistent font.


Latest Condolences
Louise Ferry Stewart friend December 28, 2010
Dear Louise and family,
I was sad to read of your father's death.  So many of our parents' wonderful generation have died these last few years.  I know you will miss him like I miss my father. Your dad had a great life and accomplished so much.  Thinking of you all at this sad time.

Wegi Ferry Stewart
Beth Buchanan . December 25, 2010

Dear Michelle,

I am deeply sorry for your loss.  Your father certainly had a full and meaningful life.   (I have many fond memories of both of your parents from my youth.)  Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

With Love,

Beth Buchanan


Jean Campbell To: Louise December 25, 2010

Dear Louise,


My deepest sympathy on your father's passing.  I know that the past years have been difficult for you and this is must be very hard to bear.  I am so sorry.


Michigan place names caught my eye as I read the paper this morning, then I saw your name and, of course realized what had happened.  It saddened me. 


Please do not hesitate if there is anything I can do for you.



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