Life Story / Obituary
Jim Wright was a deeply kind and compassionate person. Genuine as well as generous, he was quick to share his time and resources with anyone in need. He loved all people and was always looking for ways to encourage others and support the family he loved. His charming demeanor brought lightness, joy, and laughter to every gathering. Deeply loved, Jim will forever be missed by his many special friends and loved ones.
His story began in the year 1959 which was a significant time for our nation. Alaska and Hawaii joined the Union as our 49th and 50th States, the Boeing 707 Jet Airliner came into service, and Barbie Dolls made their debut! During this exciting time, Robert and Margaret Wright were pleased to announce the birth of their second child, James, on July 2nd, in Detroit, Michigan. His older brother, Robert, had passed away at the age of two years old from pneumonia, so Jim’s arrival brought his parents great joy and happiness.
Growing up in Dearborn Heights, Jim lived a typical childhood of the times. His adventurous spirit led him to all kinds of curiosity and mischief back in the day. His mother recalled a story of moving his bed once to reveal a large patch of carpet missing as Jim had used it earlier in the go-kart he was rebuilding! He also put the family pet, their Dachshund, in the dryer once after the dog got wet! Luckily, after a few loud thumps, his mother rescued him! Active and on the go, Jim tried all sports but mostly enjoyed playing hockey and golf.
His friends, Pete, Steve, Timmy, Mark, Mike, Terry, and others from Riverside High School in Dearborn were as close as brothers to him. Thick as thieves, they were there in good times and bad. It seemed there were more bad times if one considers the time Jim and his friend Tom crashed a brand new 1969 Dodge Charger just by pulling it out into the street! Also the time, he and his friend Terry’s weed stash was discovered and flushed down the toilet! There was never a dull moment with Jim and his buddies!
Not to be forgotten was the meeting of his wife Denise who would change the course of his life forever. They met at the infamous Three Kegs Round at a Halloween Party. After several years of dating, they joined in marriage. The happy couple started their family in the same home where Jim grew up before later building a home to raise their kids; Colin and Paige. As a family, they camped with their Uncle Frank’s family and close friends in many area state parks in Michigan. Every winter they took ski trips to Boyne Mountain which eventually included ski trips to the mountains of Colorado and Montana. Every other summer they would head to New York to visit Denise’s family who loved Jim as if he were their own! A special highlight was a family trip to Rome, New York. They shared a beautiful life together.
As a dad, Jim was very active in his kids’ lives. Despite his busy schedule, he cheered Colin on at his hockey games and never missed one of Paige’s gymnastics events. Nothing brought him greater joy than celebrating their successes. He modeled for them the value of hard work at his job with the Detroit Medical Center (DMC). He started there in his twenties as a painter and worked his way up to Corporate VP of Planning & Construction. In 2014, Mike Duggan, the CEO of the DMC resigned for a Mayoral bid for the city of Detroit. He asked Jim to come work for the city as the Deputy Director of Project Planning. Known for his calm nature even under pressure, Jim was proud to serve the city of Detroit for five years while the city was rebounding from its bankruptcy. He later moved back into the private sector ending his days back at the DMC & Rehab Institute of Michigan (RIM) as the Director of Facilities. During his career, Jim built a strong network of friends and colleagues.
He was immensely proud to support his children through their college years. Colin studied economics at the University of Michigan and Paige studied nursing at the Western Michigan University. He taught them that anything in life is achievable through hard work and grit. An immense honor was walking his daughter, Paige, down the aisle at her wedding ceremony to Alec Martin. His kids were truly his greatest blessing.
Jim held a wide range of special interests and hobbies over the years. For most of his adult life, he played golf. He enjoyed playing in the Riverside League and later the Rusty Nail golf league. Jim was an excellent golfer and even achieved a hole-in-one during his years on the course. Jim loved nothing more than fixing things up around the house or embarking on improvement projects. He and his son, Colin, purchased a couple of homes they gutted to the studs. Working side by side, they refinished them into beautiful spaces, which Jim then enjoyed living in. Jim never took a single moment for granted. He had a special way of making people feel loved and valued. His strong work ethic and good-natured personality made him a pleasure to be around. May his family always treasure the many special memories they shared together and may those moments live on in their hearts for generations to come.
James J. Wright, age 64, of Huntington Woods, passed away on July 18, 2023. He was the beloved father of Colin Wright and Paige (Alec) Martin. Former spouse of Denise Ceravolo-Wright. James was predeceased by his parents. A memorial visitation will take place Thursday, July 27, 2023, from 3 pm until the time of memorial service at 5 pm at Neely-Turowski Funeral Home, 45100 Warren Rd., Canton, Michigan 48187.