Bob Wright, 77, of Fort Smith passed away on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, at his home. He was a retired vice president of Whirlpool Corp. where he held various positions throughout his career. He was born July 16, 1936, in Mountainburg to the late Lee and Mescal (Chrisco) Wright. He was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Charlotte Jones Wright; and a great-grandchild, Scott Aldridge.
Survivors include his wife, Judy Wright of the home; three daughters, Cheryl Mayo of Van Buren, Debbie Dean of Fort Smith and Janet King and husband David of Fort Smith; two sons, Bobby Wright Jr. and wife Patty of Houston, Texas, and Duane Dean of Fayetteville; one sister, Janelle Redwine of Fort Smith; nine grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, three great-great-grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family.
Bob descended from a long line of Wrights and Shepherds who came to the Frog Bayou area of Crawford County in the 1830s. He descended from Isham Wright and Uriah (Old Jack) Shepherd.
Isham Wright, born 1812 in Jackson County Ala., the son of James Bradford and Mary (Smith) Wright, married Mary Polly Shepherd in the summer of 1829 in Jackson County, Ala., daughter of Uriah (Old Jack) Shepherd and Elizabeth Smith Shepherd. Uriah Shepherd was born in 1783 in Virginia.
Isham Wright was a scout for wagons going west. On one trip through the area, Isham rode his horse up Frog Bayou Creek. He vowed it the most beautiful place he had ever seen and said he would return some day and make it his home. Along with Uriah Shepherd, he did in the 1830s, Isham homesteading the lands where Lake Fort Smith is now located and Polly’s Dad Uriah (Old Jack) Shepherd homesteading the land where Lake Shepherd Springs is.
Bob was a member of the Community First Presbyterian Church in Mountainburg, joining Aug. 5, 1945.
Bob received his education from the public school system in Mountainburg and the University of Arkansas, graduating with degrees in science and industrial engineering He was truly a die hard Razorback and member of Beta Gamma Sigma and National Business Honor Society.
While at U of A, Bob drafted and molded the first version of the Razorback that we know today. Formerly it was just a wild Razorback Hog. Since that time the Razorback has seen many changes.
Bob joined Whirlpool in 1966 when the company acquired the Norge facility in Fort Smith. He held various positions of increasing responsibilities until he was promoted to division vice president in 1981, taking the helm from Sam Bateman, then passing it on to Lee Ross in 1988.
Bob was a very private and humble individual and would never boast of his education, accomplishments and community service. But, one of his greatest honors was to have served the Fort Smith community as a member of the Sparks Hospital Board, Abilities Unlimited and the Fort Smith and state chambers of commerce.
In February 1992, Bob retired from the Whirlpool as vice president of overseas industrial operations. In this capacity he traveled and worked all over the world, even living in Italy for a while. His favorite places to work and travel to were in Japan, Brazil, Thailand and India.
Bob was a golfer. He loved the game so much that one of his goals was to play on every major golf course in the United States. He achieved many of them.
Funeral service will be 1 p.m. today at Ocker Chapel of Alma with interment in Conley Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Aaron Wright, Eric Wright, Bill McCormick, Nathan Snell, US Army Kosovo, stand in Bubba Bailey, David Ross, Larry Jones, Katie Allison Wright, Neandra Beaver, Jeniffer Mayo, Crystal Dean and Melissa Gregory.
Honorary pallbearers will be Bob LaRue, Sam Bateman, Dick Litzinger, Scott Abel, Dick Adler, Mike Burdick, Jolley Baugh, Tom Brown, Jerry Neel, Johnny Standridge, Les Evits, Dr. R.C. Goodman, Dr. Boyd Saviers, Jim Sparks, Larry Kremer, Jerry O’Mara, Carl Corley, George Parvu, Veronica Jackson and Carrie White.
In lieu of flowers the family request donations to The Fort Smith Salvation Army, Abilities Unlimited in Fort Smith, the Woman’s Crisis Intervention Center in Fort Smith and the Fort Smith Public Library.
To place an online tribute please visit www.ockerfuneralhome.com.