William “Bill” B. Wright, 84, of Newton, died Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. A celebration of Bill’s life and a private family burial at Oak Hill Cemetery in Brayton, will take place at a later date. Memorials may be made to the North High School Alumni Association or the American Heart Association.
Bill, the son of William Willis and Madge Estella (Bates) Wright, was born May 18,1933, in Des Moines. He had fond memories of his childhood days working on Howard Moore’s farm and spending time with his aunt Dorothy and uncle Chuck, whom he loved dearly. Bill gradated from North High School in 1951, where he was a three sport athlete earning nine letters, three each in football, basketball and baseball. He was All-City First Team Quarterback in 1949 and 1950; All-State Honorable Mention Quarterback in 1949, All-City First Team Catcher in baseball in 1950 and 1951 and All-City Second Team in basketball in 1951. Following graduation, Bill attended the University of Iowa on scholarship for football and baseball, earning a letter his freshman year in football. After one year of college he was united in marriage with Carole Lee Stevenson, started a family and signed a baseball contract with the old Boston Braves (later the Milwaukee Braves and now the Atlanta Braves) as a catcher. Bill played two years in the majors as a bullpen back-up catcher and several more years in the Braves Minor Leagues before returning to Iowa.
Bill worked and did modeling for Look Magazine before becoming a police officer for the Des Moines Police Department. Following the end of his marriage with Carole, Bill moved to Newton, and bought Hesson’s Ice Cream store. Bill married Mary Jill Lewis and Hesson’s Ice Cream became Jill’s House of Hair. Bill later worked for the Maytag Company for five years and then for the Vernon Company, where he retired in 1997, after 20 years. On May 11, 1991, Bill was united with Susan Hutchins at the First United Methodist Church in Newton.
Bill was a member of the First United Methodist Church, Moose Lodge, Newton Country Club, North High School Athletes Hall of Fame, Des Moines Water Skiing Club and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, owning and flying his own small planes.
Bill was a talented carpenter and built his own home at the Lake of the Ozarks. He enjoyed traveling, playing golf with family and friends and watching his grandchildren’s activities. Bill liked cheering on the Cardinals and Cubs on TV. He was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandpa, proud first time great-grandpa, brother and uncle who will be deeply missed.
Bill is survived by his wife, Susan K. Wright of Newton; children, Steven (Vicky) Wright of Mound, Minn., Scott (Theresa) Wright of Excelsior, Minn., and Teri (Mark) Hansen of Urbandale; six grandchildren, Tyler Wright, Thomas Wright, Brandon (Coley) Wright, Holly Hansen, Kaylee Wright and Kiersten Hansen; great-grandson, Bates Steven Wright; his brother, Richard “Dick” Wright of Atlantic; a nephew, Dan (Teresa) Wright; and a niece, Kristi Sue Wright. He was preceded in death by his parents; his second wife, Jill Wright; two sisters-in-law, Pat Wright and Pamela Wright and a nephew, Rick Wright.