William Gardner Wright Jr.

December 18, 1929January 26, 2019

William Gardner Wright, Jr.

Gardner Wright was born on December 18, 1929 (the same birthday as his father and grandfather). He was the son of the late Mary Lynn Brogdon Wright Tarpley and the late William Gardner Wright, Sr. He was the great, great grandson of Daniel R. Mitchell, one of the 5 Founding Fathers of Rome, and the one who actually named Rome. Gardner started at Darlington School in the 6th Grade. He served on the Honor Council for 6 of his 7 years and was Vice President for 2 Years. He lettered in both football and baseball and graduated in 1947. Gardner has since served as the Chairman of the Darlington Annual Fund Drive, a member of the J. J. Darlington Society and the J. Daniel Hanks Heritage Society, served on the Board of Visitors and as Life Trustee. Upon graduating from Darlington, Gardner attended Georgia Tech and graduated in 1951 with a BS in Textiles. While at Tech, he was a member and President of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and was on the Student Council for 2 years. He was also a Cadet Lt. Col in ROTC serving as Battalion Commander. Gardner joined the US Army in 1951 and served until 1953. While in the Army, he participated in an atom bomb blast at Desert Rock, NV in 1953 when volunteer troops were positioned closer to ground zero than in any previous tests. He continued to serve in the Army Reserve for 20 years. Gardner began his career in the carpet industry with Anchor Rome Mills in 1953. He became a partner and President of Modern Fibers Sales, which became the largest importer of jute carpet backing from India and Bangladesh. In 1983 he became the VP of Sales and Marketing and general partner of Synthetic Industries, Inc. where his company was the second largest producer of polypropylene fabrics in the world. He retired in 2002. As a long active member of the American Cancer Society, he served as president and Chairman of the Board of the Floyd County unit. For 6 years he served as the Georgia State Chairman of the American Cancer Society Golf Tournament and for 28 years he served as the Chairman of the Northwest Georgia American Cancer Society Golf Tournament. In 1972 he served as the Georgia State Chairman of the Education Funds Crusade. In 1993, Gardner and his late wife Jeanne, served as the co-chairman of the Celebration of Hope Ball. In 1995 he was presented with the Egie Huff Award for his contributions to the American Cancer Society. As an Eagle Scout at the age of 13 ½, Gardner has been active in the Boy Scouts of America since. He has served in numerous capacities including finance chairman, representative to the National Council and President of the Northwest Georgia Council. Because of his ongoing commitment to the Scouts, he was presented the Silver Beaver Award in 1984 and he received the council’s Distinguished Citizen Award in the early 1990s and in 2011. Active in many areas of the community, Gardner served on the founding committee of Floyd Junior College, which is now Georgia Highlands College, and he was a member of the Floyd College Foundation Board. He served as Chairman of the Georgia Textile Manufacturers Association twice and was the first to serve two consecutive terms. Gardner was a lifelong member of the Coosa Country Club where he served as President 3 times. He was a member of the Executive Advisory Council of the Berry College Campbell School of Business and, he was a Director of the SunTrust Bank of Northwest Georgia for 30 years and where he served as Director Emeritus. In 1996 Gardner was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Engineering. He was the Heart of the Community Board of Governor’s Award recipient in1997. Gardner was a member of the First Presbyterian Church where he was past chairman of the Board of Deacons. He was the President and a Board member of the Floyd Healthcare Foundation of Floyd Medical Center. While on the Board, he chaired a successful campaign earning the 2002 Good Samaritan Volunteer Award. Long active in the Republican Party, Gardner was NW Georgia Chairman of the Bo Callaway for Governor Campaign in 1966, and he was Chairman of the Floyd County Republican Party. In 2013 he was honored, along with Congressman Phil Gingrey, for their service to the Republican Party. Long active in the Rotary Club, Gardner served as President and had an amazing 63 years of perfect attendance. In 2011 he was presented the Rotary International District 6910 W. Lee Arrendale Vocational Award for excellence in vocation, achievements in the community and academic achievements. In 2013 Gardner was honored by the Georgia House of Representatives by House Resolution 767 for his outstanding community accomplishments. Married for 61 years to the late Jeanne Brown Wright of Marietta, GA, they had 2 children, Suzanne Wright Protz (Steve), Mary Helen Wright Heaner (Andrew), grandchildren; Emily Protz Sontag (Jonathan), Mary Elston Heaner, Gardner Heaner (Madeline) and great grandchildren; Taylor Ann and Kyle Sontag, sister Kathleen Tarpley Temple (Brooke) and nephews; Bill Temple (Cammie) and Charles Temple and great nieces and nephew; Camille Temple, Gracie Temple and Brooke Temple. Family will receive friends at the Wright's home at 110 Fieldwood road, Rome, GA from 4:00pm until 7:00pm on Monday, January 27th. A funeral service will be conducted on Tuesday, January 29th at 11am at the Darlington School Chapel. The family will have a private graveside service Tuesday morning at Myrtle Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Darlington School, 1014 Cave Spring Road, Rome, GA 30161 or Floyd Healthcare Foundation, 400 Turner McCall Blvd, Ste 102, Rome, GA 30165


  • Visitation Monday, January 28, 2019
  • Funeral Service Tuesday, January 29, 2019

William Gardner Wright Jr.

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