Obituary: Philip Taylor (Pete) Wright, Union Carbide executive, active outdoorsman, long-time Darien resident
Philip Taylor (Pete) Wright, 85, longtime resident of Darien, CT, passed away peacefully on April 11, 2017, at Stamford Hospital surrounded by his four children and wife, Anne. Pete, always the consummate gentleman, enjoyed life to the fullest, was devoted to family and friends, and loved to travel the world. He was a generous, much-loved man with a compelling smile and a twinkle in his eye who saw the best in everyone and in every situation.
Pete was born in Wilson, New York, on July 27, 1931, to Alexander Joseph Wright and Grace Brown Wright and was raised on a dairy farm in Youngstown, New York. He graduated from Michigan State University in 1953 and served in the U.S. Air Force in Utopia, Alaska, from 1954-56. In 1956, he married Virginia Mae (Ginny) Alden and they had four children. Ginny passed away in 2000, and in 2004 he married Anne Dickson Ernst.
Pete spent his entire 40-year career at Union Carbide Corporation, rising to Group Vice President of Union Carbide Chemicals and Plastics Company, Inc. in 1990. Many say his success was due to an extraordinary business acumen, a gift for problem-solving, his sense of humor and love for his work. He would say he was just plain lucky. His career thrived during the three years he and his family spent in Geneva, Switzerland, where his business took him to many countries and he made many friends. Despite his occupation as “Pete Polyethylene,” one might think he made his living playing golf across the globe.
Pete loved to be active, and throughout his life could be found on golf courses, tennis courts, boats, and ski slopes around the world. Pete was a longtime member of the Noroton Presbyterian Church, Noroton Manor Tennis Association, Country Club of Darien, and the Good Old Boys Tennis Club.
After his retirement from Union Carbide in 1996, Pete spent 10 years advising and chairing the board of software company, Pixia Corporation. Pete also directed his talents and benevolence to the Darien community he cherished, supporting several nonprofit endeavors (including Person-to-Person, the Darien Arts Center, and At Home in Darien) and various local hospitals (including Stamford Hospital and Yale New Haven Hospital). Positive and practical, Pete often was called “the most optimistic man in the world.” Equally loving, he was always available to anyone who needed help, whether it was solving a problem or providing support. Anyone who knew him loved him. He was, and will continue to be, a role model for all.
Pete was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia Alden Wright and his sister, Patricia Oddy. He is survived by his wife, Anne (Dickson) Ernst Wright, his four children, Wendy Wright Marrinan (Jack Marrinan), Ann Grace Franke (Rick Franke), Steve Alden Wright (Alison Collins Wright), Sandra Wright (David Therriault), and Anne Wright’s children, Thomas Ernst (Hilary Barberie), and Elizabeth Ernst. He is also survived by his sisters, Winona Miller and Willa Wright, and his brother, Gerald Wright (Jean Wright), and many adored nieces and nephews. Pete was expressly proud of his 10 grandchildren: Grace Ann, Luke and Rowan Marrinan; Rachel and Clayton Franke; Martha, Emily and Brian Wright; and Dylan and Sydney Therriault.
Visiting hours will be held at the Lawrence Funeral Home in Darien on Friday, April 21, from 5-8 p.m. Funeral services will be held at the Noroton Presbyterian Church in Darien on Saturday, April 22, at 10:30 a.m., followed by a private burial. A reception will follow.
Flowers may be sent to the Lawrence Funeral Home. Memorial donations may be made to The Alden-Wright Foundation, 39 Mountain Avenue, Woodstock, VT 05091, the charitable (501(c)(3)) organization established by Pete and Ginny Wright in 1997 whose mission is to support local nonprofits.