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Posted on May 3, 2015 | 5:25 p.m.

John C. Wright of Santa Barbara, 1944-2015

Source: Wright Family | updated logo

In the early morning of April 18, 2015, John C. Wright passed away, comforted by his family at Serenity House in Santa Barbara as a result of lung cancer that had metastasized to his brain. He was 70.

A lifelong sailor, John Wright loved to travel and always had a joke to share. (Wright family photo)
A lifelong sailor, John Wright loved to travel and always had a joke to share. (Wright family photo)

John was preceded in death by his parents. John is survived by his beloved wife of 39 years, Cathy; his sons. John (Elizabeth) and Tim; his brother, William “Bill” Wright; and his extended family friend, Leslie Young.

John Wright was born in New York, New York, on June 24, 1944. He was the second son of Katherine and John S. Wright.

John always maintained how lucky it was for him to grow up in Santa Barbara. He learned to sail at the age of 5 at the breakwater with his brother, Bill, and continued to sail well into high school. Sailing was very much a part of John’s early Santa Barbara years.

He graduated from Santa Barbara High in 1962 and from the University of Pennsylvania in 1966.

When he wasn’t sailing or at school, John spent most of his time on the breakwater, working at the family business, John Wright & Sons. John was a proud member of the U.S. Navy, enlisting as a seaman recruit in 1967 and retiring in 1998 as a captain in the Naval Reserve Intelligence Program.

The 1970s were a very special and busy time for John. He and Bill took over the family business in the early ’​70s. It was during this time that John met and married the love of his life, Cathy. Together they raised their sons in a loving home filled with laughter, great food and the joy of long-time loyal friends.

John was a busy volunteer in the boys’ school, Harding Elementary School — volunteering in their classrooms and playing an active role in their lives. Of particular pleasure was his involvement in the San Marcos High School band program throughout the high school years.

John’s pride in being a “Santa Barbara Native” inspired him to become involved in many community activities, including the Santa Barbara Visitor Center, Trails and Rails on Amtrak trains; he helped build part of the Santa Barbara Zoo; and he helped run the Santa Barbara Fair with the local Jaycees.

But it was in traveling to familiar and far-flung places that captivated John’s imagination. The family — even John himself — lost exact count of the many countries John visited, but he visited more than 80. His family joked that if the country had a “stan” in its name, John had been there.

He loved to ride the trains in exotic places, strike up conversations with the natives, and share his love of readily available jokes with whomever he met. There wasn’t a place on the planet that did not pique John’s interest.

A celebration of John’s life will be held from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 9, at the Montecito Event Center, located at the former Café del Sol, across from the Andrée Clark Bird Refuge, at 30 Los Patos Way in Santa Barbara. Guests are welcome to bring their favorite joke of John’s to share.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in John’s honor to Serenity House of the Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care of Santa Barbara. Click here to make an online donation, or call 805.965.5555.

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