James R. Wright, 95: Veteran, mechanic took pride in workmanship

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SCARBOROUGH — James R. Wright, 95, of South Portland, died peacefully Oct. 14 at Maine Veterans’ Home.

Wright was born in Ashland on March 16, 1919, a son of Lloyd and Mary Olean (Thibodeau) Wright. On May 7, 1940, he married Josephine Beaulieu Wright.

He proudly served his country as a mechanic, infantryman and rifleman in the U.S. Army. During World War II, he received the Purple Heart for his valor in combat.

Growing up in Ashland, Wright began working as a potato farmer, but went on to hold many different jobs. Among them, he worked as a master welder for Bath Iron Works, and later as a mechanic and welder for Maine Line Fence Co.

He was a devoted member of St. John’s Catholic Church and of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Wright was an independent, unassuming and generous man who believed in hard work and self-teaching. An experienced handyman, he enjoyed “tinkering”; rather than relying on others, he preferred to build and repair things on his own. He took pride in holding himself to high standards of workmanship.

Wright was an avid skier who participated in a “70-plus” ski club. He also was a loyal fan of the Boston Red Sox, and rarely missed watching their games. Another favorite hobby was watching, playing and teaching pool.

Family time was very important to Wright. He and his wife were always at the center of their extended family, which included many close friends. Yearly holiday parties and weekly Sunday gatherings at their home were not to be missed.

Wright is predeceased by his wife, Josephine, and a daughter, Gail Jean Walsh.

Survivors include his daughter, Marie Legassy, and husband, Stewart, of South Portland; two sisters, Gloria Swasey, of South Portland, and MaryAnn Kittredge, of Wilton; nephew, Michael Wright, of Berlin, Germany; four grandchildren, Suse Kelley and husband, Chris, of South Portland, Todd Legassy, of Miami, Katherine Guidi and husband, Jim, of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, and Christopher Legassy, of Auburn; five great grandchildren, Griffin, Maeve and Garon Kelley, and Julia and Olivia Guidi; son-in-law, Thomas Walsh, of South Portland; and several nieces and nephews.

Wright’s family would like to thank the staff at Maine Veterans’ Home for the exceptional care provided to him.

A memorial service was held Sunday at Hobbs Funeral Home, in South Portland, and burial followed on Monday at Brooklawn Memorial Park, in Portland.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Wright’s name to Maine Veterans’ Home, 290 U.S. Route 1, Scarborough, ME 04074.

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