Longtime principal dies at 72
By LORRI HELFAND, Times Staff Writer
Robert S. "Bob" Wright, retired Pinellas County schools principal of Dunedin and Tarpon Springs high schools and Robinson Alternative school, died Thursday (July 18, 2002). He was 72.
His son Robert Wright Jr. of Palm Harbor said his father had a long battle with Pick's disease, a rare brain disorder similar to Alzheimer's disease.
Over the years, Wright Jr. said he ran into former students who said his father had a major effect on them. "Oh. You're Mr. Wright's son," they would say. "If it wasn't for your father, I would never have graduated."
Mr. Wright's friend Bill Justice, a former principal of Clearwater High School and former assistant superintendent of Pinellas County schools, described Mr. Wright as "jolly" and "good natured."
"He was a very fine man and a very good school man. He did a lot of good for Tarpon and Dunedin (high schools) while he was there," said Justice, also a longtime community volunteer.
Mr. Wright, a 22-year Pinellas County educator, retired in 1990 as principal of Robinson Alternative. He transferred there in 1989 after serving as principal of Dunedin High School for six years. He began his education career in Ohio and came here in 1968 to head Tarpon Springs High School, where he served 15 years.
He received his bachelor's degree in education from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where he had a football scholarship and played for Woody Hayes, who became a longtime and successful football coach at Ohio State University.
Mr. Wright earned his master's degree from Ohio State University and remained an avid fan and supporter of the Ohio State Buckeyes. He served three years in the U.S. Coast Guard, was a former member of First United Methodist Church of Tarpon Springs and was a member of the Center Star Lodge Masons of Heath, Ohio.
Survivors include his wife of six years, Helen; two other children, James B., Palm Harbor, and Becky White, Tampa; a brother, John Charles, Sistersville, W.Va.; and five grandchildren, Natalie and Ben Wright, Palm Harbor, and Matt, Katye and Drew White, Tampa.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park in Clearwater.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to Hospice Foundation of the Florida Suncoast, 300 East Bay Drive, Largo, FL 33770.
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