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Loran Gilbert Wright
September 25, 1930 ~ June 29, 2023 (age 92) 92 Years Old
Loran Gilbert Wright was born on September 25, 1930, in Ukiah and passed away on June 29, 2023, in McKinleyville.
Loran grew up in Arcata. He told stories about his youth, including summers that he spent with his brothers weeding gardens at Tyee City in the Arcata Bottoms. They slept in an old shed and swam in the Mad River at night. The boys used the money that they earned to purchase school clothes and shoes for the next school year. Loran was not especially fond of school, so he quit attending in the 7th grade and started working on a pig farm in the Arcata Bottoms. In 1948, he decided to enlist in the Navy. He was only 17 years old at the time, so he had to fib about his birthdate in order to enlist. He served for four years, 1948-1952, and was stationed in Hawaii during peace times. When the Korean War started, he was stationed in the Philippines on the USS Philippine Sea. About a year before his enlistment ended, he was home on leave when he ran into Patricia Brown. Loran and Patricia knew one another because Patricia was a good friend of Loran’s sister, Oleva. This chance encounter in Arcata was the beginning of a long and loving relationship that would span the rest of their lives.
Loran and Pat were married a year later after Loran’s enlistment ended and Pat graduated high school. They married in Santa Rosa and honeymooned in Clearlake. On a subsequent trip to Clearlake, Loran learned to water ski. He and Pat bought a boat, and their family spent many memorable times boating and skiing on Big Lagoon and Trinity Lake. He built three different summer cabins at Trinity Center, where the family gathered and enjoyed boating on the lake.
Loran was an accomplished businessman. He started Sequoia Auto Supply in McKinleyville, Arcata, and Eureka with partners, Don Cooper and Jerry Peterson. He and Don Cooper also partnered in starting the McKinleyville Stove Shop and the Eureka Stove Shop. Loran also independently opened the Laundromat on E Street in Eureka and Western Auto Supply in Weaverville.
After their children were grown, Loran built a summer home in Willow Creek. He had a big garden and planted 80 peach trees.
Loran was blessed to “retire” at age 55. He built his dream home at Trinity Center, where he and Pat lived until early 2000. He built two homes in Weaverville for his son, Mitch, and another home in McKinleyville for his son, Marc. He and Pat bought a Honda Goldwing Motorcycle and traveled 85,000 miles on it through the Western United States and Canada. Next, they purchased a fifth-wheel trailer and continued their travels through the Western and Midwestern United States, Canada, Alaska, and Mexico.
In 2000, Pat and Loran moved to Weaverville to be closer to their son, Mitchell. They lived in Weaverville for 17 years. They moved back to McKinleyville in 2019 to be closer to their son, Marc. Loran loved hanging out with Marc in his shop, and “supervised” Marc’s crazy building projects. Loran also loved doing yard work, and he became a great gopher hunter. He was in the midst of a gopher hunting contest with his friend Bob Buck, which he was determined to win. The last count was 87 gophers! Just two weeks before his death, he asked his daughter-in-law, Teresa, for more Gopher Hawks.
Loran loved God. His family attended Arcata First Baptist Church. Most recently, he attended the Wesleyan Church of the Redwoods in McKinleyville. He enjoyed walking and meeting his neighbors. He had many friends.
Loran was preceded in death by his son Mitchell Wright in 2011 and by his siblings Jack Wright, Joseph Wright, Harold Wright, and Oleva Mellow (Wright).
Loran is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 70 years, Patricia Wright. He is also survived by his son, Marc Wright, Marc’s wife Teresa, and their children Tyla (Jasper) Brodie and Morgan (Katelyn) Wright. He is also survived by his foster daughter Lois Erhgood (Stockoff), Lois’ husband Jim, and Lois’ children, Russell Brenner and Alisha (Dennis) Wilson. He is also survived by his grandson (Mitchell’s son) Zachary (Tiffany) Wright. Loran had 6 great-grandchildren, Brooklyn and Rowan Brodie, Michael and Anthony Brenner, and Dennis Jr. and Delilah Wilson.
A memorial service to honor Loran will be held on July 16, 2023, at 2 p.m. at the Wesleyan Church of the Redwoods, 1645 Fischer Avenue, McKinleyville. There will be a celebration of life at the church’s social hall following the service.