Cover photo for Don  Vern Wright's Obituary
Don  Vern Wright Profile Photo

Don Vern Wright

August 25, 1930 — September 11, 2010

Don Vern Wright, 80, of La Grande, died Sept. 11 in La Grande from complications of Crohn's Disease. His funeral service will begin at 11 a.m. Friday at the Island City LDS Church. Burial with full military honors will be held at Grandview Cemetery.

Don was born Aug. 25, 1930, to Claude and Marjorie (Owsley) Wright in La Grande. He attended Fruitdale School for eight years and then went to La Grande High School, where he was active in 4-H and FFA. He graduated in 1948.

Don enlisted in the Marine Corps in December 1951. Shortly after enlisting, Don contracted spinal meningitis and returned to La Grande to recuperate. Don served as a corporal in the Korean War, fighting on the front lines with the machine gun squad, north of Seoul, near the 39th parallel. Returning to the states in January 1954, Don served as an MP in San Diego. Don attained the rank of sergeant but was not promoted, instead choosing to accept an honorable discharge in 1955.

On Dec. 2, 1955, Don married Jennette Malloy. Their marriage was solemnized July 17, 1962, in the Idaho Falls Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Don and Jennette would have celebrated 55 years of marriage in December.

Don loved his family, his friends and his church. He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and held Ward and Stake callings. Don served as a stake missionary for 4 1/2 years and was known to assist with local Boy Scouts of America activities.

He was also interested in genealogy.

Don was passionate about farming and ranching and was deeply tied to the family farm on Sandridge Road. He actively followed political and current events especially those influencing farming and ranching. Don and his father raised registered horned and polled Herefords, producing championship bulls. Don also was employed by Boise Cascade for 24 years, formally retiring in 1992. He was active in the Boise Cascade Lumber Mill Bowling league, winning a championship.

Don was the happiest watching his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow and flourish. Don enjoyed hiking with his sons and family; fly fishing with his mother-in-law, Viola Baum; picnics with family; deep sea fishing; hunting on the family's Starkey ranch; huckleberry and mushroom picking; motorcycle riding with his wife, children and friends; ice skating; and skiing around his grandfather Thomas Owsley's ranch in Owsley Canyon.

Those who knew Don say he could cook a great meal on the grill and was skilled at baking pies, cookies and bread, which could be topped with his jams and fruit butters, or served with his home-canned peaches and pears. He liked gardening, traveling and reading.

Don is survived by five children and their spouses, Lorna Jean Wright Ricker of Union, Jonie Marie Wright Millar and her husband, Nick, of Shelley, Idaho, Del Ray and his wife, Kathleen Wright, of La Grande, Gary Ross and his wife, Nancy Wright, of Union and Douglas Lee and his wife, Michelle Wright, of La Grande; 20 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.

Don was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Dr. Richard Wright; and sister, Wilma Wright Markham.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the LDS Church Family History Center, LDS Perpetual Education Fund, LDS Humanitarian Fund or any other charity in care of Loveland Funeral Chapel.

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