Charles Edward Wright (known to friends as Charlie) of McCook, died Nov. 8, 2003. He was born Dec. 21, 1920, near Tuttle, Okla., to Dempsey Albro Wright and Agnes Louise (Keyser) Wright.
He grew up in Oklahoma City, Okla., and attended the University of Oklahoma at Norman where he was awarded a BSCE degree in civil engineering in 1947. He served in the Army as a captain in the HQ, 94th Infantry Division, Field Artillery Regiment from 1942 to 1946. He saw action in World War II in France, Germany and was awarded the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the Theater Ribbon with four Bronze Stars and the Victory Medal. He was also stationed in Czechoslovakia after the war ended.
Charlie moved to Cambridge to work as an engineer on the flood control dam on Medicine Creek where he met and married Marjorie Lou John in 1950. He opened an engineering business in Cambridge and then moved to McCook in 1956 to share a partnership in engineering with Paul Mousel. After Paul retired, Charlie operated the engineering business for many years in McCook, specializing in roads, bridges, airport runways and municipal sewer and water lines. He served as the city or county highway engineer in various locations in the entire Southwest Nebraska region. He retired from the engineering business in 1995. He also owned and managed farms in Red Willow County over the years.
A member of the Boy Scouts of America from age 12, he remained an active adult Scouter throughout his life. He served as Scoutmaster and was a member of the Executive Committee of the Tri-Trails Council and the Overland Trails Council. He led a crew of Nebraska Scouts to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. He was awarded the Silver Beaver award for lifetime Scouting achievement in 1982. He was a commissioner on the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He was an active member of Rotary International, member of the BPOE (Elks), member of the VFW and served in leadership positions over the years in the United Church of Christ Congregational.
Throughout his life, Charlie was enthusiastic outdoorsman, sharing his experience and enjoyment of hunting, fishing and camping in the western United States with many young persons and friends. His retirement trip was a two month journey through Canada to Alaska, fulfilling a lifelong dream. He supported wildlife conservation on his farms and worked on community betterment projects, such as building walking trails.
Furthering his commitment to mentoring youth, he and Marjorie provided a home for a foster child in 1972 and 1973 and sponsored a Rotary Exchange student from Mexico in 1971.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, James and Joseph; and sister Elizabeth Anne.
Survivors include his wife, Marjorie; son, James E. Wright and his wife, Beth Greenberg of New York City; daughter, Ann L. Wright and husband, Robert Francis Cryne of Omaha; and grandchildren Julia and Patrick Cryne of Omaha.
A memorial service is Thursday, 2 p.m., at the First Congregational Church in McCook with Fred Severe officiating. There will be no graveside service as he has donated his body to the University of Nebraska Medical Center for education and scientific research. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given in his name to the Overland Trails Council of the Boy Scouts of America in Grand Island, the Hillcrest Nursing Home Foundation in McCook, the Community Hospital of McCook Foundation or memorials of choice. Herrmann Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.