Edith D. Wright

Although she surrounded herself with "lots of wonderful friends," Edith D. Wright was a woman whose individual accomplishments cannot be overlooked, no matter how inconspicuously she achieved them.

Her daughter Margaret Wright summarized her mother's work: "She was successful in a lot of ways that aren't really measurable."

Edith D. Wright of Columbia died Monday, Jan. 16, 2012, at Boone Hospital Center. She was 90.

Mrs. Wright was born Feb. 12, 1921, to Ernest Woollen and Margaret Keiper Dailey in Mason City, Iowa.

Her parents, daughter-in-law Sarah Riddick said, delivered one resonating piece of advice to their four daughters: "You should always be able to take care of yourself."

What's more, they encouraged their girls to pursue whatever it took to do so.

After graduating from Chillicothe High School in 1938, Mrs. Wright heeded her parents' words. She entered the MU School of Law as one of three female students and graduated with a juris doctorate in 1944.

Margaret Wright said her mother's feat was far from typical of the period.

"She has always been kind of a role model for women and a trailblazer in many ways, although she would have never thought of herself in that way."

Mrs. Wright married Jackson A. Wright in 1945 and relocated to Mexico, Mo., where she began work as legal counsel to the Children's Code Commission of Missouri the next year. When she and her husband started a family, however, Mrs. Wright ceased her own active practice.

Still, Margaret Wright said her mother remained very much engaged in the legal community.

"She was by (my father's) side in all of his legal practice," she said.

She received a Citation of Merit, a distinction reserved for the MU School of Law's most outstanding alumni, in September 2011 for her contributions to the field.

When her children were grown, Mrs. Wright again entered new territory for women by becoming one of the first members of the Boone County Bank Trust Department. She retired in 1981 as vice president.

"She was a quiet, heroic person we're all blessed to have known," Riddick said. She illustrated Mrs. Wright's vast sense of volunteerism with a list of organizations to which she devoted herself, including Kappa Kappa Gamma and the Cecile Circle of King's Daughters.

Mrs. Wright is survived by a daughter, Margaret Wright, of Phoenix; a sister, Marybelle Dailey Mueller, of Jackson; grandchildren John Atchison Wright, Meg Storey and David Storey; a son-in-law, Mark Storey; and a daughter-in-law, Sarah Riddick, her husband, John Riddick, and their daughter, Lindsay Riddick.

Her husband, Jackson A. Wright; two sisters; a son, David Wright; a daughter, Mollie Wright Storey; and a son-in-law, Ian McKee, died earlier.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at Parker Funeral Service, 22 N. Tenth St.

Contributions can be made to The Golden Key Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 30163, Columbia, MO 65205; First Christian Church, 101 N. Tenth St., Columbia, MO 65201; the Edith D. Wright Scholarship Fund, c/o Law School, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211; the Jackson A. Wright Scholarship Fund, c/o Law School, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211; or a charity of the donor's preference.

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