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Harry Smith Wright, Jr., SSgt., USAF
October 16, 1931 – March 26, 2021
Harry Smith Wright, Jr., age 89, of Pittsfield, IL passed away on Friday, March 26, 2021 at Griggsville Estates in Griggsville, IL. He was born on October 16, 1931 in Naperville, IL to Harry and Mary Iftner Wright, Sr. He is survived by his wife Helen Hower, whom he married in Naperville, IL on August 10, 1953.
Harry graduated from Naperville High School. He grew up in Naperville, however spent most of his summers in Pike County where he developed his love for farming and agriculture.
After high school, he went on to attend North Central College, and after half a semester, he joined the United States Air Force. He spent 6 years serving his country during the Korean War as a Staff Sergeant. While being stationed in Alaska, he graded and shipped meat; he also saw combat while serving in Korea as a helicopter paramedic.
After being honorably discharged from the US Air Force, he returned to college, receiving his Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Illinois, and he later obtained his Master’s Degree. Harry began his career in Fulton County as the Assistant Extension Advisor then moved to Pike County in 1964, where he became the Pike County Extension Advisor until 1990. He was very active in his community serving in various ways. He was a 50+ year member and past board member of the Pittsfield United Methodist Church where he also sang in the choir, as well as a 50+ year member of Pike County Rotary, where he served as a past President. Harry was also involved in the Jaycees and several park board projects such as developing the tennis courts, area ball fields where he served as a coach to many Little League champion teams, among many other things. Anytime he was asked to assist with a project, he was always willing to volunteer. Other organizations he was involved in include New Philadelphia Project, Pittsfield Masonic Lodge, Shriners, Red Cross, Golden Boar Club, Pork Producers, Beef Producers, Sheep Producers, Twin Eagles Bridges and Bridge the Gap, 4-H Leader and member of the 4-H Hall of Fame. Harry was a 25 year member of the IL Dairy Goat Association serving as Dairy Goat Superintendent at the State Fair, Pike County Chamber of Commerce, Pike County Industry, Rural Development Task Force, Moose Lodge, Advisor to the IAA Board, Pike County Planning Board, and Past President of Pike County. Theater Guild. He was also instrumental in the creation of Pike County Pig Days and won numerous awards over the years for his many acts of service. During Harry’s spare time, he enjoyed painting landscapes with water colors, played several instruments in different bands as well as taps at military funerals, and liked gardening. He was a humanitarian and never knew a stranger. Harry was talented, a good and faithful servant and he loved and adored his grandchildren.
He is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Helen Wright; sons, John (Funmi) Wright of Columbus, IN and Peter (Anita) Wright of Pittsfield, IL; granddaughters, Ebun (Kareem) Okuleye-Ash, Tobi Wright, Yomi Wright, Margaret (David) Wright-Calvey, and Zoe Wright; great grandson, Kai Ash and one on the way; brother, Wayne (Margie) Wright of Sandwich, IL; sisters, Carol Beck of Barry, IL and Marilyn (Bill) Whitman of Hot Springs Village, AR; and sister-in-law, Barbara (Lloyd Rakosnike) Hower.
He was preceded in death by his parents; son, Harry Smith Wright III; sister, Georgia (Ron) Scherer; brothers-in-law, Terry Beck and Charles Hower; and sister-in-law in infancy, Margaret.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Niebur Funeral Home in Pittsfield with Masonic services at 4:30 PM. Funeral services will be held on Friday, April 2, 2021 at 10:00 AM at the Pittsfield United Methodist Church with interment following at Oakwood Cemetery in Pittsfield. Memorials are suggested to be made to Irick Scherer Reunion or Pike County Shriners. Online condolences may be left to the family at www.nieburfh.com. Niebur Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.
Published by Herald-Whig on Mar. 30, 2021.
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