Phyllis L. Wright
June 16, 1920 – October 6, 2021
Fort Worth, Texas – Phyllis Long Wright passed away Wednesday, October 6, 2021, at the remarkable age of 101. She was born in Cowles, Neb. June 16, 1920, and grew up there and in Grand Island, Neb. Her parents were Stanley Long and Gladys Defibaugh Long.
The middle of five children, Phyllis and her younger sister ,Virginia were very close and had fond memories of growing up in a small town. Their father, Stanley, owned a drugstore in Cowles and later in Grand Island, with the special feature of a soda fountain.
Despite the financial difficulties of the 30’s and 40’s, all five Long children graduated from college. Phyllis graduated from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, with a Liberal Arts Degree, and “Go, Big Red!” was always a refrain during football season. At the university Phyllis joined Alpha Chi Omega sorority and was a life member. While at the university she met fellow student, Jerome (Jerry) J. Wright, and they enjoyed dancing to Benny Goodman at the Student Center at 10 cents a couple. Phyllis and Jerry were married November 26, 1941, and in early December their lives, along with millions of others, changed dramatically. Jerry was in the army by February, 1942, and was in the Philippines when their daughter, Bunny was born in September, 1942. Phyllis and Bunny were living in Orlando, Fla. when, at 2:00 the morning of December 6, 1944, all the bells in the city were ringing. It was a great relief to hear from Jerry later that day, to let them know he was safe on the USS Ancon off Omaha Beach.
After the war Jerry, a geologist, joined the California Oil Company, and for the next several decades his career took them to many states across the US. Phyllis began her career as a librarian when they lived in Midland, Texas. They later moved to Tucson, Ariz. where Jerry attained his PhD and joined the faculty of the University of Arizona, teaching geology and hydrology. Phyllis was a reference librarian in the new university Science Library. She took a class in Russian so she could help students find their reference materials, many of which were written in Russian. Phyllis was a long time member of the DAR. She was an avid reader, and enjoyed needlework as well as designing and constructing jewelry with semi-precious stones.
Phyllis and Jerry enjoyed many trips to Europe and across the US, before and after retirement. They often traveled to Fort Worth, where Bunny and her husband, Jonathan and their very beloved grandson, Eric Wright Gardner lived. After Jerry’s death in 1993, Phyllis moved to Fort Worth, where she lived at The Vantage at Cityview until her death. While there, she and her sister, Virginia, who had moved to be close to Phyllis, enjoyed playing bridge and participating in the many activities available. Phyllis loved being with others, and always made it a point to learn everyone’s name and their spouse’s and grandchildren’s names too. Every weekend Phyllis, Virginia, Bunny and Jon would go for dinner, special times filled with laughter and memories. They also enjoyed spending many holidays and birthdays in Napa Valley.
While giving a brief description of her life to assembled guests at her 90th birthday, Phyllis cited the famous quote, “Life is what happens when you are making other plans.” Whenever she was angry (seldom) or frustrated (sometimes) the strongest term she would use was “oh, nuts”!
Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents, Stanley D. Long and Gladys Defibaugh Long Murray; her beloved husband, Jerome (Jerry) J. Wright; her brother, Robert Long, MD; sister, Ruth Siefkes; brother, Jack Long; and sister, Virginia Maples.
She is survived by her daughter, Phyllis (Bunny) Gardner; son-in-law, Jonathan Gardner, both of Fort Worth; her precious grandson, Eric Wright Gardner of Rapid City, S.D.; and nieces and nephews, Diane Martin, Steve (Sue) Long, Greg (Diane) Long, Lamont (Charlene) Long, Cynthia (Don) McCullough, Pamela (Dan) Ireland, Nina Sosko, and Don (Rosemary) Siefkes.
Phyllis’s family would like to thank the staff at The Vantage, including Lana, Alicia, Johana and the staff of Encompass Hospice, all of whom made her life comfortable and safe. A very special thank you to Maria, who was with Phyllis for many years and who gave her such loving care. Thank you to long time friend, Trudi Post, whose friendship was so dear.
Phyllis’s Time-Tested Beauty Tips: For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run her fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.
Phyllis and Jerry were truly of the greatest generation. Phyllis will rest with Jerome at the at Fort McPherson National Cemetery, Maxwell, Neb.
Memorials: If desired, memorial donations may be made to Straydog, Inc., P.O. Box 1465, Gun Barrel City, TX 75147, or a charity of your choice.
Published by Star-Telegram on Oct. 24, 2021.