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Walter Jennings Wright (Plainview)

September 6, 1953 — April 2, 2022

Walter Jennings Wright (Plainview)

Walter Jennings Wright passed away on April 2, 2022 in Lubbock, Texas. Walter was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico September 6, 1953, then moved to Plainview, Texas in 1959. He attended Plainview Public Schools and graduated in 1971. He then attended Oklahoma Baptist University and Houston Baptist University before graduating from Wayland Baptist University in 1975 with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in music education. He earned a Master’s of Music Education degree from The University of North Texas in 1977. While attending Houston Baptist University, he met Sharon Lankford and they were married on May 26, 1973. Wright began his teaching career at the Selwyn School in Denton, Texas while a student at The University of North Texas. He taught 5th and 6th grade music and art in Midland ISD and was appointed choir director at Lee High School in 1979. He left the teaching profession for three years working as a lab technician/office manager at Tracer Laboratory in Midland. During that time he served as the minister of music/youth at Greenwood Baptist Church and Northwest Baptist Church in Midland. In the fall of 1984 Walter returned to Plainview High School as the Choral Director. Over the next 31 years his choirs consistently earned Sweepstakes trophies at UIL Concert/Sightreading contest. His choirs performed literally all over the United States as they performed at the Air Force Academy Chapel, West Point Chapel, the Crystal Cathedral, Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, St. John the Divine Church in New York City and the Washington National Cathedral and consistently earned awards at festivals and competitions around the country. He served as the Voice of the Powerhouse of the Plains Band (a phrase he coined) for 25 years. After retiring from Plainview High School in 2015, Wright served one semester of sabbatical relief at the Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii. Upon returning to Plainview, he worked at Frenship High School in Wolfforth as a vocal coach where he continued through the fall of 2021. Active with the Texas Music Educator’s Association, Wright’s Plainview High School Women’s Chorus was chosen as a TMEA Honor Choir in 1993 and performed at the annual convention. He served several terms as the Region 16 vocal chairman and the Area A chairman as well as an All State Choir section leader. He is a member of the Texas Choral Directors Association as well as the Texas Music Adjudicators Association judging numerous UIL contests. He regularly was a guest lecturer at both Wayland Baptist University and Texas Tech University in the music education department. During his 38 years in Plainview, Walter was active in First Baptist Church, serving as a deacon and directing the grade 4-6 choir, singing in the Sanctuary Choir and on the Praise Team. He served as minister of music at several area churches including College Heights Baptist Church, 1st Baptist Tulia, First Christian Church, Grace Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Church. Wright was the founding director of the Plainview Civic Chorus. In 2014, he was awarded the Silver Star by the Plainview Cultural Arts Council for his contributions to the arts in Plainview. In addition to music and teaching, the passion of Walter’s life was his 4 grandchildren. Nothing thrilled him more than attending their choir and band concerts, football, basketball and volleyball games, theater performances, and cheerleader and gymnastics competitions. He is survived by his mother Louise Wright of Plainview, his wife Sharon of Plainview, son Jonathan and wife Kristen, of Lubbock and 4 grandchildren Jaxon, Harper, Trinity and Trooper; two brothers Dr. David Wright and wife Dr. Ruth Rector-Wright of Horseshoe Bay, Texas; John Wright and wife Kristi of Lewisville, Texas; sister Susan Jameson and husband Ted of Corrales, New Mexico, along with numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Norman O. Wright and daughter, Julianne Wright. A visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. Monday, April 4, 2022 at Kornerstone Funeral Directors. A celebration of life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5 at First Baptist Church Plainview Sanctuary. A private burial will be held at Parklawn Memorial Gardens in Plainview. Memorials may be made to the Texas Music Educators Association Scholarship Fund, Memo: Walter Wright, Box 140465, Austin, Texas 78714-0465 or the American Cancer Society.
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