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Susan Bea Wright


1929 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Susan Bea Wright Obituary
Susan Bea Wright, 87, died at Sunshine Gardens on Monday, April 17, 2017.

Sue moved to Durango with her husband, Bill, in 1994 after the couple retired from the travel agency they ran in Maryland for 30 years. Bill Wright died in 2007.

Sue was a beloved fixture at The Ranch, where she enjoyed entertaining friends, playing golf and bridge, attending performances at Music in the Mountains and the Melodrama, and spending time with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Sue excelled at arts and crafts, making hand-painted gourds and greeting cards among other things. Some of her artwork was displayed at the Durango Arts Center, where she spent many years as a volunteer.

Born in Minneapolis on Oct. 8, 1929, Sue was the youngest of four daughters of Arne and Beatha Wiprud. The family later moved to Chicago and lived in New York City for a time before settling in Washington, D.C., where her father held several government positions including heading the transportation division of the Justice Department's Anti-Trust Division. Sue graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in fine arts.

After college, Sue took a job with the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., where she met her future husband. ("The big blond and I really got to be friends,' Bill would write many years later.) The couple married on Nov. 16, 1951 at Grace Lutheran Church in Washington. The following month, Bill was sent on a tour of duty to Japan. Four months later Sue, who was pregnant with twins, joined him there, beginning a lifelong fascination with Asian culture. Two years later, the young family of four moved to Hong Kong, where Sue was the toast of the American ex-pat community, hosting many functions at her home in the hills overlooking Repulse Bay. Among Sue's many overseas adventures was a brief appearance as an extra, while pregnant with daughter Judi, in the film "Love is a Many Splendored Thing," starring William Holden and Jennifer Jones.

The Wright family moved back to the U.S. in 1959, living first in Nashville, Tennessee, before settling down in Silver Spring, Maryland, where Bill and Sue opened their own travel agency. During three decades of arranging trips for their loyal clients, the intrepid entrepreneurs also extensively traveled the globe themselves, including visits to Sue's ancestral home in Norway.

After selling their business, Sue and Bill moved to the Four Corners area to be closer to their youngest daughter and her family. They briefly lived in Ignacio before moving to The Ranch. Following Bill's death in 2007, Sue moved to downtown Durango, where she indulged in her love of movies and actively volunteered at the Durango Arts Center and at the old Mercy Hospital.

Sue is survived by her daughter Debbie Wright of Durango, son Chapin Wright of Flemington, New Jersey, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Daughter Judi Jackson passed away in 2014.

A private commemoration will be held next month. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Judi Jackson Scholarship Fund at photodivine.com.
Published in The Durango Herald on Apr. 20, 2017
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