Mae Bess Wright, who dedicated much of her life to helping others as a nurse, died Monday (Sept. 28). The mother of Jerome Wright, deputy editor for The New Tri-State Defender, she was 96.
Mrs. Wright obtained a licensed practical nurses’ certification, serving patients at the old John Gaston Hospital, Shelby County Hospital, the Naval Hospital at Millington, Methodist Hospital and as a private-duty nurse.
Born on December 19, 1923 in Memphis to the late Julius and Anna (Bramlett) King, she was the youngest of nine siblings (four boys and five girls). She attended Carnes Elementary School and was a 1942 graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, where she was a member of the drum-and-bugle corps.
On September 1, 1942, she married Robert B. Wright while he was enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Occasionally Mrs. Wright was able to visit her new husband while he was stationed at state-side naval bases, including New Orleans, Norfolk, Va., and an adventurous solo train trip from Memphis to Maine. Later in life, they enjoyed reminiscing with wonderful stories of those trips that they shared as a young couple.
The Wrights converted to Catholicism in their early 20’s and were baptized at St. Augustine Catholic Church, where they were members for many years. Over the intervening years, they were members of St. Peter and St. Patrick Catholic Churches, and Immaculate Conception Cathedral.
Mrs. Wright served enthusiastically in several Catholic women’s organizations, including the Madonna Circle, the Memphis Catholic Diocese’s Coalition of Catholic Women and the Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary. She also served as a lector and Eucharist minister.
In addition to her husband of 78 years, she leaves her son, Jerome (Gwendolyn) Wright; a daughter, Rosalind (Marcel) Holman; a sister, Mable Smith; five granddaughters, Meredith A. (Peter) Davidson, Elizabeth L. Wright, Victoria J. Wright, Jennifer Costner and Jessica E. Holman; a step-grandson, Albert Glenn, and great-granddaughter, Beatrice Davidson.
The funeral mass is set for Oct. 7 at noon at St. Augustine Catholic Church at 1169 Kerr Ave., where the Rev. Francis Chiawa is pastor. Rosary is at 11:30 a.m.