Apalachicola-born Betty J.C. Wright, who rose to the highest ranks among Oklahoma educators, died at age 81 on Sept. 7 in Oklahoma City.
A graduate of Quinn High School, the former Betty Croom married Robert L. Wright, Jr., the day after Christmas, in 1941.
She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University and a master’s from Oklahoma University. She spent 34 years teaching third and fourth grade students, and in 1988 co-founded the Oklahoma Student’s “Invention Convention,” an annual conference that inspired thousands of children to think critically and invent solutions to everyday problems.
Wright served on the Rose State College Board of Regents/Board of Trustees from 1991-2020, and was the recipient of more than 200 accolades for her leadership in education, ranging from the Martin Luther King Lifetime Achievement Award in Apalachicola, to the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching which she received at the White House. In 2018, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.
Wright is survived by her two children Michele Towers (George Towers) of Aurora, Colorado, and Robert Wright III (Anna Wright) of Oklahoma City; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren, as well as her siblings, Granville Croom Jr., Bertha Rhodes, Marvin Croom, Lowery Croom, Lawrence Croom, and Deborah Thompson.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Robert Lee Wright Jr., and her siblings Cydell Wilson, Evelyn Goss, and Wallace Croom.
A Celebration of Life service was held Saturday morning, Sept. 16 in Midwest City, Oklahoma.