Walter Olden Wright, 91, died peacefully at The Elms of Cranbury on Wednesday, September 15, 2021. Born July 17, 1930, in New Brunswick, he grew up in South River, New Jersey. Walter was a graduate of Proctor Academy in Andover, New Hampshire, and a veteran of the United States Air Force, serving as an Air Craft Electrician, from 1951 to 1955.
He lived in Plainsboro for over 50 years and was a resident of Cranbury for the past six years. Walter was the owner/operator of the River Sand Company in East Brunswick for over three decades and retired in 1989.
He was a member of the National Silica Sand Association Engineering Committee and produced two patents. In Plainsboro, he served as the Bureau of Fire Prevention Chairman, and Zoning Board Chairman. Having served as Proctor Academy school leader in his senior year, Walter served on the Proctor Academy Board of Trustees for many years and was appointed to a lifetime term as an Honorary Trustee. Brian Thomas, Head of School, shared that Walter’s “commitment to a culture of environmental sustainability is woven into the fabric of (Proctor) and perpetuated through the naming of the Walter Wright ’49 Biomass Plant that is dedicated to him” (commonly referred to as Walt’s Wood Stove).
Walter was most grateful for the support of Pastors Hannah Lovaglio and Joanne Petto of the First Presbyterian Church of Cranbury where he was a member; he was an ordained Elder, and was Senior Breakfast Chairman for 17 years. As a member of the Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society, he was a docent at the Museum, and he was a member of the Cranbury Golden Age Neighbors. Walter was an avid hunter and fisherman, traveling 15 times to Alaska for salmon fishing. He was an avid skier in Colorado until age 75.
Predeceased by daughters, Maire Claire (Mary Alice) Voorhees (2019), and Elizabeth Wright (1962), Walter is survived by his beloved wife of 60 years, Barbara (Wincklhofer) Wright; son, Walter O. Wright, II and his wife, Susan, of Danbury, New Hampshire; grandsons, Dmitri Voorhees, of Seattle, Washington, and Zachary Seaverns, of Charleston, South Carolina; and son-in-law, Benjamin Miller, of Tijeras, New Mexico.
His family is deeply grateful to The Elms of Cranbury for the loving care that nurses and certified nursing assistants provided for Walter in the last months of his life, led by a dedicated administration. A Celebration of Walter’s Life was held at the First Presbyterian Church of Cranbury on October 3, 2021. The Celebration was live-streamed and recorded on the Church’s Facebook website. A private burial service will be held.
In honor of Walter, and in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Cranbury, 22 South Main Street, Cranbury, NJ 08512. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Barlow and Zimmer Funeral Home, 202 Stockton Street, Hightstown, NJ 08520.