Jerry Wright

Jerry Edwin Wright

Saturday, October 31st, 2020
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Jerry Edwin Wright, 88, of Corning NY died October 31st 2020 at home surrounded by his immediate family. As a husband, dad, grandad, former soldier, designer and artist, musician, adventurist, conversationalist, patron of the arts, historian, deliverer of hope and help for those less fortunate - all these attributes reflect Jerry’s constant contributions and his love of life and his community.
The oldest of three, Jerry was born in St Paul, MN to the late Kenneth E. and Denise H. Wright. His parents later settled the family in Oak Park IL. Jerry graduated from the Univ. of Illinois where he achieved a BFA with Honors in Industrial Design. After returning from 2 years’ service in the U.S. Army, where he was stationed in Japan, he married his high-school sweetheart Virginia “Jinny” (Lee) Wright in 1956. He started with Motorola in Chicago and he moved to Corning in 1958 were he began his 38 year career with Corning Glass Works in joining the Consumer Products Design group, developing numerous housewares and appliances; his engineering/design team received a patent for the world’s first “glass-top” range. He later joined the Product Liability Defense team.
Jerry was a devoted husband and father. Supporting Jinny with her career, the Girls Scouts Camp Misty Hollow, Market Street Restoration, the teen Sunday school “Recycle a Bicycle”, establishing the Patterson Inn and Painted Post Depot, the CMOG cleanup after Hurricane Agnes in 1972 to name but a few. He and Jinny also enjoyed much travel in the U.S. and internationally, often with their extended family and longtime friends.
During his life Jerry’s hobbies have been vast and shared: bike tours, camping, skiing, watercolor and pen&ink drawings, photography – he always had a camera ready to capture images of family/friends, events, architecture, nature, culture. He started playing the clarinet at age 10 and never stopped for 75 years. He performed with the original Orchestra when most musicians were volunteers, then ongoing with the Eastside Laundry, 3 River City Jazz Band and the Corning Area Community Concert and Marching Band.
Jerry’s ‘Community Betterment’ projects earned him many recognitions and awards, including the United Way Errol Shand Community Service Award, Rotary's Paul Harris Fellow and the Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service, but his actions were to address individuals’ most basic needs, not to seek accolades. His self-initiated “Mattress Ministry” aligned him with multiple Steuben County agencies who identified local families (hundreds over the years) and Jerry would deliver, year-round, donated furniture/appliances and especially beds, to households in need. Jerry also delivered for Meals on Wheels for over 25 years. Hence, he had a wonderfully detailed memory of the area’s back roads and local history.
Jerry is survived by his loving wife Virginia; his children: Peter (Stacey) Wright, Kathryn (Daniel) Gerwig and Alison Wright-Merkl; his grandchildren whom he adored: Kimberly Gerwig, Elizabeth "Liza" Gerwig and Natalea Wright; his sister: Sylvia Kete; as well as many nieces, nephews and friends. In addition to his parents, Jerry was predeceased by his sister Reba Gershman.
We can envision Jerry being a “part of that number, when the Saints go marching in” but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there will be no services at this time. A memorial gathering will be held at a later date. Please consider a donation in Jerry’s memory to C-PP Historical Society/Heritage Village at 59 W. Pulteney St. Corning NY 14830 or alternatively Corning Meals on Wheels 144 Cedar St, Corning, NY 14830.
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