Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki was joined today by family and community members at a ceremony to rename a street in honor of the late Wilmington-born funeral director, Robert O. Wright, I.
Earlier in the day, Purzycki signed an Executive Order designating the 100 block of East 35thStreet in the City’s Eastlawn neighborhood as “Robert O. Wright, I Way.” Wright passed away in February.
Attending the street ceremony were Wright’s wife Deborah, and Robert’s sons, Maurice, Robert II, and Justen Wright. Also in attendance were Senator Darius J. Brown, president of Wilmington City Council Hanifa Shabazz, First District City Council Member Linda Gray, and former City Council President Theodore Blunt.
Purzycki stated that Robert O. Wright, I, “was a devoted and dedicated family man who, despite numerous challenges and obstacles, never lost his entrepreneurial spirit and drive to succeed. “Wilmington is pleased to honor individuals such as Robert Wright, who relentlessly pursue their lifelong dreams all the while actively engaging with and having a positive impact on their community.”
Born in Wilmington, Wright developed a love of funeral service as a teenager after spending time talking with and learning about the life of a funeral service professional and business owner from Edward R. Bell.
Robert was educated in Wilmington public schools, graduating from P.S. DuPont High School in 1974 and going on to attend Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University).
In pursuit of his dream of becoming a licensed funeral director and business owner, Robert enrolled in the American Academy of McAllister Institute of Funeral Service in New York City. After graduating from McAllister in 1981, he completed his apprenticeship and opened the House of Wright Mortuary, Inc., on August 9, 1987. Meanwhile, Robert married Deborah Ann Brinkley in 1982. He had three sons: Maurice J. Wright, Robert O. Wright II and Justen A. Wright. Later in his career, Robert obtained a license to practice in the state of Maryland and expanded the business to include additional locations in Smyrna and Penns Grove, NJ.
Robert was active in the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and in other organizations.