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Merle Glen Wright

Posted on Tuesday, August 9, 2022 at 10:17 am

Merle Glen Wright died May 27, 2022 in Mission, Texas.

Centralia native, Merle graduated from Centralia High School in 1951.  After attending Westminster College he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. Following his service he completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Missouri, Columbia. In Columbia he managed a coin machine business, became part owner of the Italian Village Restaurant, and subsequently founded Restaurant Equipment and Supply Company which he owned and operated until his retirement in 1999.  For many years he maintained the Tipps Tool Building in Centralia as a warehouse for the business.   He served as chairman of the Boone County Horse Show, President of the Columbia Ski Club, and was active in the Flatland Ski Association.

For 15 years of his retirement, Merle and wife Bev lived in Mexico where he was an active volunteer with Cruz Roja and Operation Feed. He was a member of the Guadalajara Stamp Club the Lake Chapala Society Computer Club, the Tequilla Club and the Culinary Arts Society of Ajijic.

In Texas Merle was a member of The Houston Chowhounds, The Quiet Birdmen (an aviation club), as well as 3 stamp clubs. He was also a McAllen Public Library Bookstore volunteer.

A man of wide interests and boundless curiosity, Merle lived life with gusto. He traveled widely in the US, piloting his plane or driving his reconditioned Greyhound bus. In the last 20 years he and Bev had extended stays in Canada, Nova Scotia, Italy, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, France, England, Portugal, Wales, Spain, Greece, Poland, Morocco, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany.

He loved good food and good friends. He struck up conversations often and easily with strangers as well as with friends and acquaintances, and never chanced upon a place, a subject, or a person that didn’t interest him. He was keen on Missouri history, snow skiing, and philately—collecting, buying, and selling postage stamps nearly his entire life. He had a special interest in the history of Boone County, and most of all Miller County, where the Wright family came from, and made many contributions of items and information to the Missouri Historical Society.

Merle is survived by his wife of 29 years, and fellow 1951 Centralia High School graduate, Beverly Clark Cooper Wright, sons Timothy Wright, Vancouver, Washington, Vincent Wright, Nacogdoches, Texas, daughter Emily Wright, Santa Barbara, California, grandchildren Deidre Hiles, Robert Hiles, Autumn Wright, Lyndsay Wright and former spouse Patricia Barley Wright.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles I. Wright and Pauline Kouns Wright of Centralia.

An informal celebration of life will be held in Columbia at a later date.  Memorial Contributions may be made to the Centralia Museum, 319 E Sneed St., Centralia, MO., 65240 or the Boone County History and Cultural Center, 3801 Ponderosa St., Columbia, MO., 65201.