rest in peace, bobby wright

We’ve been missing from the blog for several weeks and I thought I should fill you in on the reason.

Many of you already know that my wife lost her older brother last month to a brain aneurysm. We’ve had a little time to deal with the crushing grief caused by the loss of someone we dearly loved and, although the pain is still fresh in our minds, we wanted to tell you about someone very special in our lives.

I posted some links on Facebook that told a little about Bobby. The obituary in the Albuquerque Journal gave the usual dry facts.

Bobby AF portraitColonel Robert “Bobby” McClellan Wright (USAF-Retired), age 67, a resident of Albuquerque, NM, since 1999, died Sunday, June 10, 2012. A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, June 14, 2012 at 11:15 a.m. at Santa Fe National Cemetery.


The obituary goes on to list all of the survivors – wife, step-children, siblings, newphews, nieces and grandchildren.

After retirement, Bobby went on to teach at the Albuquerque Campus of Wayland Baptist University. His colleagues remembered him in this article excerpted from the base newspaper.

BobbyWaylandIn Memoriam
Col. Robert McClellan Wright (USAF, Ret.)
January 20, 1945 – June 10, 2012

With sad a solemn hearts, we share the news of the unexpected passing of our dear friend and valued colleague, Colonel Bobby Wright.

Colonel Wright was a long time employee at Wayland Baptist Unversity – Albuquerque, and was instrumental in opening and running the Kirtland Air Force Base office of WBU – ABQ for the last decade.

A memorial service will be held graveside at the Santa Fe National Cemetery on Thursday, June 14th. Please note that our office will be closed until late afternoon on this day so that our staff is able to attend the service.

We ask that you join with us in keeping his wife Marcia and their family in your prayers during this very difficult time.

Bobby, we will miss you terribly. Rest in peace, dear friend.

This was a touching tribute, but these few words could not even scratch the surface of the caring and fun loving guy that I knew.

His brother, David, gave the graveside eulogy and touched on many of the childhood Bobbyisms that we had all heard over the years. Bobby was legendary for starting on the path to the Air Force by declaring himself to be Superman and then launching himself from the rooftop to fly. He wasn’t as much concerned about the mangled ankle that resulted as he was about how good he looked in flight.

Bobby loved his country and the Air Force, but when the day was done he shifted gears. Out of the uniform and into shorts and sandals. Of course they weren’t just any shorts and sandals. Nooooo! They were Ralph Lauren or Tommy Bahama. He wanted the best for his family and himself, he worked hard to provide it and he enjoyed the fruits of that labor.

The man was a clothes-horse, as you can tell from the photo from Wayland Baptist University above, and he wanted everyone to share in his love of fine things. It wasn’t unusual for a Ralph Lauren sports coat to show up on my doorstep. Or for a Ralph Lauren leather jacket to make it to a birthday party. Or Tommy Bahama shirts. The only problem with these generous gifts was this: compared to Bobby’s thoroughbred wearing of these fine clothes, I looked like a Clydesdale in racing colors.

Bobby was also generous with his time and knowledge. He began his career in the enlisted ranks and I watched him guide many young people through their higher education and into the officer ranks. He was always accessible to those who were willing to do the hard work and follow his plans. He had little patience for those who merely wanted to muddle through life.

Over the years I attended two change of command ceremonies and his retirement ceremony. While there were always the requisite number of dignitaries and high ranking officers present, I was always amazed at the number of enlisted and civilian personnel waiting outside to offer their congratulations and best wishes to a beloved friend and leader. That said more to me than all of the medals and pomp inside the auditorium.

Now all of that doesn’t mean that Bobby wasn’t a “high maintenance” friend. When you visited his home on vacation you did not expect to relax. Nope. There was always a party going on. And with every party came the chores.

Harry, help me mark out the bocci ball court. Harry, bring me the meat for the smoker. Harry, can you slice those avacodos for me? And be sure that they are sliced in precisely eight even pieces. Oh, yeah. And when you slice the limes, be sure to put a perpendicular slice through the pulp so they will fit on the rim of the glasses. Don’t forget we’ve got to run to the mall before everyone gets here. I want to show you the latest Polo shorts. And we’re scheduled for breakfast at the golf course early tomorrow morning.

When we came home from Albuquerque we usually needed a couple of days to rest up before going back to work. The boy was a dynamo and we had a hard time keeping up with him.

When we weren’t there with him, there was the telephone. He called Ain’t Leo nearly every day. Often several times a day. If he couldn’t get her, he called me. And the rest of the family. He was a constant presence in our lives and we miss that terribly.

I could go on for hours, but I wanted to let you know just a little about the guy we loved. And why it has been hard for us to get back up to speed with the blog. I’ve set a schedule of things to post, so maybe things will get back to normal again. Thanks for reading.


14 comments to rest in peace, bobby wright

  • Maryjo Fox

    Harry, Thank you for this. It was very touching and a wonderful tribute to what sounded like a wonderful man.
    From reading this, it gave me some insight into what a wonderful person he was.

    I know his family will miss him terribly, but he will always be in your hearts.

    Love to you both,


  • Thomas Rogers

    so sad – he was so young in age for our times
    I worked for him at the CBPO 1984 1985
    then retired and went to work in accounting in
    major hotels for 20 years

    this was really a shock to see that he had passed away

    i always search for people that i used to know in the
    military and a lot of them i cannot find anything at all

    well, if you do not put it on the internet then probably
    it won’t be there

    • YakDriver

      Thanks, Thomas. He was in such good physical shape that we thought it would be one of us instead of Bobby. Fortunately he was getting ready to play golf when it happened – just the way he would have wanted it.

      Bobby had a tremendous impact on the careers of many young Airmen and I was gratified to see so many young people show up at the funeral to pay their respect. Thank you for commenting. It will mean a lot to the rest of the family.

  • Thomas Rogers

    if your husband was a pilot he would probably no doubt been a Brigarier General or Major General
    I had met with and served with many people over 23 years;; Senior
    NCO of the year strategic air command ,, i got to personally meet
    with General russell doughrty SAC
    worked with Maj Gen James Gardner MAC in hq mac and Vietnam
    and was assistant to wing commander Brig General Germeraad
    not sure of the spelling but you can look them up
    on the internet
    interesting biography’s; ; ; ;
    in 1961 i met General Emmett (rose) Odonell PACAF COMMANDER
    as i worked in the headquarters in Japan

    in all i met with very famous people including your husband

    all of those good generals have now passed on to a better place

    i will never forget all of these fine people
    and some who have helped me with my career

    Oh I forget General Creech in Germany
    later commander TAC

  • Donna (Pumper) Haines

    I am very saddened to hear Col “Bubba” Wright has passed on. I worked for Col Wright at the CBPO when he got there as CBPO Chief until I left in 1984; Kirtland was my 1st duty assignment. He always tried to encourage me to get into school & get a commission. Although I never did that, I did retire from the AF in 2004. He was a great inspiration for me. I googled his name b/c I’m headed back down to Kirtland next week, first time since 1984 & wanted to look him up. It was quite a surprise, RIP Sir! you will never be forgotten!

    • YakDrriver

      Pumper, I will pass your comment on to his wife. She is always glad to hear from the folks who knew Bubba. He was a wonderful guy and had such a positive influence on many young service members as well as students when he went on to teach at Wayland Baptist University at the Kirtland Campus.

  • Thomas Rogers

    I’m so supprised to actually find someone who was at the CBPO in 1984, I worked in Personal Affairs and retired in 84 or 85 cannot recall which, anyhow, glad you stayed till retiremen some benefits are far better than nothing if you get into the military and then quite as many do.

    I went on to work in accounting for 20 years in BIG hotels
    now age 71 and retired
    san antonio TX

  • Vicky (Cosgray) Taylor

    I just learned of Col Wright’s passing. I am so very sad. Col “Bubba” Wright was a HUGE part of my military career. I worked for him in the 76 ABW Commander’s Office at Kelly AFB from Mar 96 until he went to Kirtland AFB. I even assisted with his retirement ceremony coming all the way from Kelly AFB for the festivities. I asked him to preside over my retirement ceremony, but he had just gotten the job at Wayland Baptist and could not make the schedule work. I was a better Airman because of him. You will never be forgotten Sir!

    • YakDriver

      Thanks for leaving your memories of Bubba. He was my brother-in-law, but so much more. He and my wife were quite a handful when we got together. Marcia and I often let the go off without adult supervision so we could have a day of rest. I will pass your message on to his wife.

      • Shelley

        The internet is an amazing place. I was able to find you with a bit of info I had. It’s probably against all rules. But! I feel it was important to let you and his Sis what a difference was made in my life. Because of your brother in law I am here. His generous decision to be a organ donor saved my life.
        I think of him everyday and I am so thankful. I am doing everything I can to give back. I am going to donate time to North West Donate Life. I will be going to go into high schools and let kids know how it is so important to register as a donor when they get there driver license.
        I know you are trailer travelers. We sold our condo in Mexico when I was ill and life was not looking so good. Recently we were able to buy a small trailer and I get to go camping for the first time in 2 and 1/2 years. I am so excited and thankful.
        Please realize your loved one has made another amazing difference in some ones life.
        I wish you peace and God’s love, Shelley

  • thomas rogers

    WOW thanks for getting on the internet
    I did not know he was at Kelly AFB i am here in san antonio TX

    i worked for him at kirtland afb, nm

    thanks for keeping his memory alive

  • a friend and mentee

    When all were against me, this man treated me with dignity and respect. He had the social intelligence and compassion to inspire and guide me through one of the toughest times in my life. Wow! I love this man.

  • Rick Rutledge

    Col. Wright was one of my teachers at Wayland Baptist University in Albuquerque while I was finishing up my bachelor’s degree. He worked with me personally at times when he saw that I needed it. I wasn’t very good about speaking in public and he took several hours on two occasions to help me with that. In addition, he helped me with a number of things including steering me into the right set of classes that got me towards my scholastic goals in a much more direct manner than I would have on my own.
    The year before I graduated from Wayland, he took one of the papers I had written about leadership to read to the graduating class!
    He did this kind of helping work to so many of us and it showed. He eventually became a leader of the Wayland college branch over at the nearby Kirtland AFB.
    “Bobby was also generous with his time and knowledge.” This was stated above and is so true. He showed his Christian values wherever he went. We’ll miss him! RIP

    Rick Rutledge BS MCSE

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