James Lee Wright Jr.

james wright jr.

November 4, 1936 ~ December 28, 2020

Resided in: Atlanta, GA

James Lee Wright, Jr., died of complications due to the Covid-19 virus on December 28, 2020. He is survived by his wife, Rachel Kempson Wright; his son, James Lee Wright III, and daughter-in-law, Dana Catherine Ivey; his brother, Thomas Stewart Wright, and sister-in-law, Srichanok Wattanasiri Wright; and his grandchildren, Ada Ivey Wright, Iris Mae Wright, and James Kempson Wright.

Jim’s life was devoted to public service and family. He was the first child of James Lee Wright and Lona Stewart Wright, born in Pittsburgh, PA, on November 4, 1936. Jim grew up with his sister Joyce Wright Clayborn (deceased), and brother Tom. He lived in Bluefield, WV, Jacksonville, FL, and Tampa Bay, FL. When he was six, his family moved to Nashville, TN, where he grew up for the greater part of his childhood. He graduated from West End Highschool and Vanderbilt University. After college he moved to Beaver, PA, and began his city planning career working for his uncle, Earl Shaw. He also obtained his Masters in City Planning from the GSPIA program at the University of Pittsburgh at night during the late sixties.

In 1968 Jim moved to Atlanta, GA, and worked for the Model Cities Program. In the seventies he founded Wright Associates, Inc., working on state and city programs to develop inner cities. In 1978 he went to work for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) where he served for twenty-five years administering development grants and city housing programs. He was the Grants Manager in the Office of Partnerships when he retired from HUD in 2003. Jim then worked for five years as a mediator with the Supreme Court of Georgia working on general civil, criminal, and juvenile cases.
Jim was also a tireless community leader in Atlanta who volunteered his time for many decades. He served as the President of St. Luke’s Economic Development Company working closely with Reverend Ray Parsons in the 1980s. He served as President of Outstanding Atlanta and as the Georgia Chapter President of the American Planning Association. Jim also tutored Latin American children at Peachtree Presbyterian Church, Trinity Church, and AGAPE for ten years.

Jim loved literature and was a former President and longstanding member of the Burns Club of Atlanta, where he made many of his closest friends in life. He was a caring man who was devoted to his family and believed very deeply in the importance of a good education. He was adored by his grandchildren. His passing is a significant loss for so many family members and friends, and it was too soon.

There will be a private interment at Oakland Cemetery and a subsequent celebration of Jim’s life. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Jim’s name to AGAPE Youth and Family Center or the Southern Poverty Law Center.

2020 has been a challenging year for so many families. Please do your part to limit the spread of the virus. Please wear a mask and socially distance until we can all get safely vaccinated.

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  1. Catherine Muller says:

    I am deeply saddened by the passing of Jim Wright. He was always a thoughtful and kind gentleman. I offer special prayers for Rachel Anne who was his soul mate. This is a terrible loss for her and their extended family.

  2. Carter Fowlkes says:

    Jim has been a friend since our sons played soccer at Pace Academy. We were also fellow parishioners at St. Luke’s Episcopal. He did much quiet work over the years through church and elsewhere for the disadvantaged. Jim was a prince of a guy. I will miss him

  3. Thomas Stewart Wright says:

    James Lee Wright, Jr. was the most honorable, best person I have ever known. He was a loving brother and mentor to me and much more to others, a devoted husband and father, a best friend to many. He had a persistent intellectual curiosity and enjoyed continuing education including literary study forums. Jim was the most generously giving person I have known. Jim found most satisfaction in helping others. The passing of Jim leaves a hole in my heart and I will grieve for him for the rest of my life.
    Thomas Stewart Wright

    Sent from my iPad

  4. Chris Seitz says:

    We are so saddened by this – Mr. Wright was such a kind, intelligent man. He elevated any conversation and interaction with his insights and curiosity. We will miss him dearly and embrace those he left behind in our hearts.
    -Seitz family

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