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Wilanda Wright

Wilanda Wright

Sep 25, 1932 - Mar 19, 2023

Wilanda Wright - Obituary


ilanda Inez Ray, born September 25, 1932, was called home to be with our LORD on Sunday, March 19, 2023. She was 90 years old. Wilanda was born in Paris, Texas to the late Coleman Ray and Pearl McDonald. Wilanda was the third of four children. She had an older brother Marion (deceased), an older sister Violet, and a younger sister Betty (deceased). As a young girl, one of her aunts started calling her Patty Cake. Little did she know, that nickname would stick with her for the rest of her life. Even till the day she passed, everyone called her Pat, and people would always ask if her name was Patricia. Wilanda attended Gibbons School which was kindergarten through 12th grade before segregation. After high school, she moved to Kansas City to live with her brother. While in Kansas City, she attended Donnelly College where she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Business. After completing college, she moved to Washington, DC where she worked for the State Department. There she met the love of her life, John D. Wright, who also worked at the State Department as an engineer. They married on July 9, 1954 in Paris, Texas at the home of her parents. She was married for 41 years when her husband John passed away. Their union produced 2 sons, Jeffrey D. and Westley R. Wright. After the birth of the boys, she decided to be a stay at home mom. Once the boys started school, she got a job as a volunteer secretary at St. Gabriel Elementary School. There she started a lifelong career in the Catholic faith. After the family moved to Maryland, Monsignor Farrell of the Archdiocese of Washington, hired her to work in the finance department at the Archdiocese. After a few years working in the finance department, Patrick Cardinal O’Boyle moved her upstairs to work as his Executive Assistant. There she ended up working for three Cardinals. After the retirement of Patrick Cardinal O’Boyle, she worked for William Cardinal Baum. Cardinal Baum was transferred to Rome to work for the Pope. She worked for James Cardinal Hickey until her retirement. In her role as Executive Assistant for the three Cardinals, she received the “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” on October 7, 1979 from Pope John Paul II. This is an award conferred by the Pope for distinguished service to the Catholic Church. It is one of the highest awards that can be conferred to a lay person. Until 1993, it was also the highest honor that could be obtained by a woman in the Catholic Church. Wilanda enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and listening to music. She was also notary for PG County. Along with her parents, she is predeceased by her beloved husband John Wright, her brother Marion Ray, and her younger sister, Betty Brown. She is survived by her son, Jeffrey (Lenka) Wright of Felton, Delaware, son Westley (Karen) Wright of Mitchellville, MD, her grandchildren Bernitta, Janal, Hillary, and Jillian, her great grandchildren, Elijah, Isaiah, and King. A viewing will be held on Thursday, March 30th from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 AM located at St. Joseph Catholic Church: 2020 St. Josephs Dr., Upper Marlboro, MD. A burial will follow at Resurrection Cemetery, 8000 Woodyard Rd., Clinton, MD 20735. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association. A repast will be held at St. Joseph Catholic Church after the burial. The mass will be live-streamed at http://www.facebook.com/stjosephlargo.