“I am sorry to report that we have lost one of our longtime members of the board of trustees,” announced Wayne C. Watson 4W8, board chairman. V. Gerald Wright passed away May 3.
“We are very saddened to hear of Jerry Wright’s passing. He was a valuable member of our board for many years. He was dedicated to helping the school and even as his health was failing, rarely missed a board meeting. He was a great Williamson Ambassador, spreading the word of our mission to all that he met. We will miss him greatly.”
Mr. Wright was head of the Presidential Search Committee that brought Paul Reid to the presidency and, in 1997, received the board’s Isaiah V. Williamson Award for his efforts. Upon receiving the award he said, “I know it may sound a little corny, but I grew up with the idea that I wanted to leave the world a better place than it was before I was here.”
Mr. Wright was the retired president of Catalytic Engineering and worked 40 years in the engineering and construction field all over the world, including as superintendent of the world’s largest fossil-fuel power plant at the time, in Ontario, Canada, and contract manager for the design and construction of the world’s largest grass roots petrochemical plant in India.
Mr. Wright lived in Princeton, N.J., and grew up in Port Neches, Texas. He graduated from high school at 15 because of his good grades.
During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy. After the Navy sent him to the University of Texas to study civil engineering, he was commissioned as an ensign in the civil engineering corps of the Seabees.
He spent World War II in the Pacific with a combat pontoon outfit building ship-to-shore bridges to land assault troops and equipment.
He received a Navy Commendation for helping construct the facilities for the atomic bomb test at the Bikini Atoll.
In 1946, he finished his degree, married Huberta Nunn, and joined Stone and Webster Engineering Corp. in Boston.
He spent the next 25 years in such positions as superintendent of field construction, project manager, contract manager, manager of construction services, and vice president, on major projects around the world.
In the early 1970s, he became vice president of Research-Cottrell, Inc., an air pollution control equipment manufacturing firm and, in 1975, became vice president of Catalytic, Inc. in Philadelphia, retiring in 1986 as president. He then became a consultant.
Earlier, he served as vice chairman of the Princeton Township Board of Construction Appeals, and was involved in cattle ranching and the management of oil, gas, coal, and timber interests.
At this time, no announcement has been made about funeral arrangements.