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Wright, Lolla Catherine Wurtele comment (0)

March 23, 2006


Lolla Catherine Wurtele Wright, widow of the late Samford University president Leslie S. Wright, died March 16 in Birmingham. She was Samford’s first lady for 25 years, from 1958 until 1983.

 “Mrs. Wright loved this university and worked energetically and successfully in its behalf,” said Samford President Thomas E. Corts. “She and her late husband were a striking couple and they made many enduring friendships for Samford. Their hard work and devotion is everywhere apparent on the Samford campus.”

Wright, age 92, attended Howard College (now Samford) briefly before graduating from the University of Alabama, where she was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. She earned a master’s degree in mathematics at the University of Louisville.

She married Leslie Wright — her childhood friend — in 1939. As Samford’s first lady, she was a devoted hostess for the university. She frequently opened her home for events supporting Samford athletic teams, student organizations and faculty groups. She was a caretaker for a series of mascot bulldogs for the university.

Wright was a member of the Women’s Committee of 100 for Birmingham, the Antiquarian Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, United Daughters of the Confederacy and Daughters of the American Colonists, and an honorary member of the Birmingham Rotary Club. She was a charter member of the board of the Alabama Men’s Hall of Fame and long-time executive director of the Samford Auxiliary.

A native of Ensley, she became a member of Ensley Baptist Church at age 12. She later joined Southside Baptist Church and First Baptist Church, Birmingham.

Survivors include her two sons Leslie Stephen Wright Jr. of Trussville and John King Wright of Birmingham; four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. (SU)

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