David I. Wright

January 8, 1952 ~ March 17, 2020 (age 68)


Dr. David I. Wright

Age 68, of Saint Paul, died March 17, 2020 after a two-year valiant battle with glioblastoma brain cancer.

Because of COVID constraints last year, a service for him was delayed.  The service will be held Saturday September 25th at 10:00 AM at the Macalester College Chapel, 1600 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105. A reception in the Weyerhaeuser Hall will follow. Participants must be vaccinated and wear masks. 

He was born to Frank I. Wright and Louise Coffey Wright on January 8, 1952 in Neenah, Wisconsin. He graduated from Northfield High School in 1970. He received a BA in biology from Grinnell College along with numerous academic and athletic awards. He earned his PhD from the University of Kansas Systematics and Ecology (Limnology) in 1979. He served a post-doctoral fellowship at UMN Limnological Research Center under Drs. Joseph Shapiro and Herb Wright. David was employed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for over thirty years, serving at various points in the divisions of ecological services, waters, and fisheries.

David was loving, kind, patient, and a great listener. He gave good counsel, whether at the office or on the ice rink. He was passionate about water and water resources. David loved the out-of-doors -- always a field biologist at heart. He enjoyed canoeing, sailing, and fishing at the Smith cabin, cross country skiing with his wife, Deb, biking with the kids along the Mississippi and around the shores of Lake Itasca, long, leisurely walks with the family dog, gardening, and just putzing around outside. He will be deeply missed.

He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Dr. Deborah L. Smith-Wright, his children Hannah Calhoon (Clay), Patrick Wright (Raisa), Evan Wright, and two granddaughters, Cora and Isla Calhoon. He was the eldest of a remarkable and wonderful family. He is survived by his siblings, Martha Winston (John), Clifford Wright, Catherine Kromer (Todd), Gregory Wright (Jeanne), Douglas Wright (Cheryl), Steve Wright (Paula) and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank Drs. Clark Chen and Elizabeth Neil at the University of Minnesota (UMN) for their fabulous oncologic care. The family would also like to thank Dave’s colleagues and coworkers for their incredible support throughout this journey.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Grinnell College designated for the Wright Family Endowed Fund for Men’s Soccer via the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, Grinnell College 733 Broad Street, Grinnell, IA 50112 or to the University of Minnesota Foundation, designated David Wright, the Brain Tumor Fund, University of Minnesota Foundation, P.O. Box 860266, Minneapolis, MN 55455. 

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