Sally Wright (Sarah Louise Smith Wright), age 84 of Trumansburg, Searsburg, NY peacefully passed away on January 24, 2019 surrounded by her loving husband of 65 years, her children, her grandchildren, and her caretakers who all love her so dearly.
Sally was born on July 9, 1934 in Wilmington, NY, in a house right at the foot of Whiteface Mountain. She was the daughter of Edward Smith and Alice Kelly Smith. Her father was a steam shovel operator and was located at Whiteface in order to build the seasonal highway that goes up the mountain. Sally and her parents and siblings moved to Trumansburg when Sally was 2 years old after the flood of 1935 took out many bridges around the area. Her father was hired to rebuild the bridge at Halseyville in Trumansburg with the highway crew. Thus began Sally’s life in Trumansburg and all those she touched as a result.
Sally grew up on Main Street Trumansburg in the house that her brother, Jack Smith, later owned for years. When her childhood home was sold to an individual outside of the family she cried, but she smiled again when the current owner of that house recently invited her in to see the changes and sit once again on the front porch and watch the traffic on Main Street go by.
She retained her childhood friends all through her life. Specifically Barb Smith Redman, Mary Borden Jamison, Pat German Ditmars, Lilly Ann Giba Teeter, Bev Bennett Westervelt, and Peggy Vaughn Porter. In her married years, her sister-in-law, Hazel Wright, became her life-long friend and confidant. She always spoke with affection when she spoke of these friends whom she held so very close to her heart.
It was in classes at Trumansburg high school where Sally met the love of her life, Pete Wright. They married during her senior year and their life together began as she finished school and was then whisked off with her love to embark on his 37 years of Naval assignments in various places. Pete’s world became Sally’s world. Immediately following her graduation in 1953, they moved to Philadelphia near the shipyard, then at a later date off to Boston with the ship. They eventually settled back at home in Searsburg in 1955, first living in the old house on Stillwell Road that stood in front of Pete’s parents’ house. In 1958 they bought the house on the corner of Searsburg and Burr roads, worked hard to turn it into a livable home with indoor plumbing, and they created a happy home and made raising their 6 children the most important thing in their lives. Sally was a stay-home mother in her children’s early years but then went off to join Pete at Searsburg Eggland and later at Cornell University until retirement.
In their younger years, they had a lot of Friday night fun bowling in a couples’ league at Tri-County Lanes where they made a lot of friends. They also spent many cold winter nights snowmobiling miles of trails and hitting “cocoa stops” with neighbors and other couples along the trails. They enjoyed the camaraderie of summer night picnic table meals with neighbors, card playing, pool shooting, target shooting and horseshoe throwing, as well as making the neighbor kids and nieces and nephews a routine part of their household.
For many years, Pete and Sally took their 6 children “tent” camping and “houseboating” in the summers. In later years they cleared farm land (we should say… “their children picked never-ending rocks!”) and built their dream home, a log house they hand built further down Burr Road … they logged the wood right out of their woods, they milled the trees into boards, and they built their home from the ground up.
They retired together from Cornell University on the very same day as one another, April 1, 1991 with the anticipation of beginning their retired life together. On the very next day, they embarked on a life-long dream… a cross country Alaska road trip. They drove first through the southern states stopping to visit family and old Navy buddies and their wives and then onto their ultimate destination, Alaska, where they made many memories together to later share with their children. They traveled all throughout Alaska then drove home through the upper Midwest U.S. Sally came home, planted her flowers and shrubs, loved her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, had lunch in town with her friends, and attended Historical Society luncheons, all the while keeping her home life with Pete the focus of her life.
Riding their Harley-Davidson was also a source of lively fun for Pete and Sally in their retirement. Tapping maple trees, making maple syrup and vegetable gardening to feed their family were hobbies that Pete and Sally spent a lot of outdoor time enjoying together with their children and grandchildren. Eventually, their focus settled solely on their home, their children, and their grandchildren….their life together. Hunting was a family sport and pastime for Sally’s husband, sons, and grandsons, and she always accommodated it with hot meals and a warm fire in out of the cold as well as the handling of the meat to feed her family. It always made her happy when the boys would “come in and eat.” Pete’s home machine shop and his daily work with his tractors and wood cutting were a part of her daily life as well. Sally welcomed many neighbors, farmers and other shop customers for lunch or a cup of coffee and some neighborly conversation. Additionally, Sally enjoyed knitting and sewing while her children were young, she LOVED to shop for shoes, and she could talk all day long about movies from the 1930’s and 1940’s and all the glamorous movie stars involved.
Pete and Sally always had a reputation for being gracious, generous, loving friends and neighbors to everyone who knew them. They ranked with the best parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles in God’s creation Sally has loved and has been loved by many family members…some deceased and many still here today.
Sally and Pete have many nieces and nephews and have always loved them as though they were their own children. Their grandchildren lived right in their hearts.
Sally was raised in the Methodist Church in Trumansburg and always believed in heaven.
Mom – It will be such a beautiful blessing to be with you again in heaven one day.
Her life was well lived, she was patient, loving and was an incredible mother. Her husband, sisters, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and friends will miss her desperately and will feel a tremendous loss without her.
Sally is survived by her husband of 66 years Pete (Charles) Leonard Wright; six children, Charlotte (Bob) Wright Mosher, Wayne (Robin) Wright, Wade “Sam” (Jacqueline) Wright, Sally (Jack) Tillinghast, Debbie Wright, Donna Wright Mosher (Jeff Porter); grandchildren: Scott (Kelly) Jones, Mark (Katie) Jones, Jennifer (Dan Traina) Mosher, Joli Wright Zifchock, Michelle Wright, Morgan Wright, Jered Wright, Jane Wright, James (Amber) Powers, Charlie Van Ness, Todd Tillinghast, and Joli Chamberlain; great grandchildren: Kalea Jones, Madelyn Jones, Sarah Jones, Emma Jones, Owen Jones, Gavin Jones, Samantha Zifchock, Michael Zifchock, Brody Zifchock, Alexandra Traina, Eleanora Traina, Jensen Powers, Madden Powers, Emily Chamberlain, and Douglas Chamberlain; sisters, Mary Jane Smith Conrad Beltramo and Charlotte Smith Hovencamp; brother and sisters in law, Hazel Wright, Richard “Dick” (Verna) Wright, Marian “Judy” (Earl) Wright Isaacs, Steven (Susan) Wright, Bruce Wright (Linda Cole), Robert “Bob” (Carol) Wright; and Tom Fox; and numerous Smith and Wright nieces nephews that “Aunt Sally” loved like her own, Clayton, Steve, Jim, Vicki, Gary, Kay, Margaret Elaine, Mark, Jeff, Glenda, Larry, Caprice, Julie, MaryAnn (Mimi), Rosie, John, Lisa, Kenneth, Jason, Ralph, Evelyn, Joyce, Merritt, Mark, Juanita, Julia, Ben, David, Karen, Rick, Amy, Janel, Kim, Eric, Doug, David, Joshua, and Jeremiah. In addition to her parents, Edward and Alice (Kelly) Smith, Sally was preceded in death by her brothers, Clayton “Bob” Smith, James “Jim” Smith, Jack Smith; sister, Sylvia Smith; mother and father in law, Almon and Edna (Coon) Wright; and brother and sisters in law, Alma Wright Compton, Edwin Wright.
The family will be present to receive friends from 4:00 to 7:00pm on Friday, February 1, 2019, at Ness Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South Street, Trumansburg. A funeral service will be held at 11:00am on Saturday, February 2, 2019 at the Trumansburg Methodist Church, 80 E. Main Street, Trumansburg, with a reception to follow at the Trumansburg American Legion Post #770.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift in Sally’s name to the Ulysses Historical Society, PO Box 455, Trumansburg, NY 14886.
“Our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren make our world go around.” – Pete & Sally