Donald “Larry” Wright

DonaldWright onlineResident of Los Altos Larry Wright, devoted husband, father, and grandfather passed away on May 26, 2020 five days shy of his 85th birthday. Larry was born in Orange, California on May 31, 1935. He is a graduate of Orange High School, Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, and Long Beach State College class of 1957. In 1952, while still in high school, he enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve at Los Alamitos. After graduating from Long Beach State, he went on active duty and while attending Platoon Leaders Class at Quantico, he decided aviation was for him. He was accepted at the Naval Flight Training school in Pensacola, Florida as a Marine Corps 2nd Lt. and was designated Naval Aviator in Nov 1958. In 1961, after returning from Oppama, Japan he was assigned as Flight Instructor in Pensacola, (first as primary flight and later as a helicopter instructor) which is where he met his wife Patricia. They were married in Dec 1961. In Aug 1965, he was deployed to Viet Nam with Marine Observation Squadron Six (VMO 6) until Sep 1966. He was released to the Marine Corps Reserves in 1967 and in Jan of 1968 began training with United Airlines in Denver, CO. From his San Francisco domicile, he began his career on the DC-6 and progressed to B737, 727, DC-8, 757, and 767 until his retirement as Captain in 1995.

The B-737 was his favorite airplane. During his United years, he remained in the Marine Reserves and was Commanding Officer of Marine Reserve Heavy Helicopter Squadron 769 (HMH 769) at NAS Alameda, California. He retired from the reserves as a Colonel in 1990. After retiring from flying, he was never idle. He was a past president of the Retired United Pilots Association (RUPA) and served on the Board of the United Airlines Retired Pilots Foundation and was the area representative for a local group of retired pilots until his passing. One of his favorite pastimes was to attend his high school reunions. He was also very active in planning reunions for his Marine Corps units. He was an integral member of a committee to install a VMO-6 Memorial Monument at the National Marine Corps Museum at Triangle, VA, which was designed by his son Wayne and installed in May 2012. He spent countless hours supporting his wife’s volunteer projects and groups at the United Methodist Church of Los Altos, and never turned down an opportunity to spend time with his grandchildren. His favorite place was his tree ranch in Fox, Oregon where he maintained acres of trees near the Malheur National Forest and where he spent his last days. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Patricia, his sons Douglas (Dothan, AL) and Wayne, daughter-in-law Kristina, and his two grandchildren Dylan and Naomi (San Jose, CA). Interment was held at the Northern California Veterans Cemetery in Igo, CA. Memorial donations may be made to a charity of your choice.

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