Donald Anthony Wright of Sudbury, Massachusetts unexpectedly departed this life at his home on Monday, January 7, 2013. Don was husband of Paula (Lawson), father of Donny, father-in-law to Marta and grandfather to Junior, Bryan and Kethleen to whom he was affectionately known as "Big Papi". He is survived by sisters and brothers Kay, Geraldine, Judy, Ronald and Michael and he was predeceased by Kevin. The union of his father Donald Wright, an immigrant from Nova Scotia, Canada, and his mother, Mary Britto, from the Cape Verde Islands led to a family of seven children. Don was born in 1941 in West Medford, Massachusetts. ...
Donald Anthony Wright of Sudbury, Massachusetts unexpectedly departed this life at his home on Monday, January 7, 2013. Don was husband of Paula (Lawson), father of Donny, father-in-law to Marta and grandfather to Junior, Bryan and Kethleen to whom he was affectionately known as "Big Papi". He is survived by sisters and brothers Kay, Geraldine, Judy, Ronald and Michael and he was predeceased by Kevin.
The union of his father Donald Wright, an immigrant from Nova Scotia, Canada, and his mother, Mary Britto, from the Cape Verde Islands led to a family of seven children. Don was born in 1941 in West Medford, Massachusetts. Affectionately called 'Butchie' by friends from the neighborhood, Don was an altar boy at St. Francis de Sales Church near the Cathedral Housing Development where he grew up. He caught the entrepreneurial bug early, running his own shoe shine stand by the age of 10. After graduating from Jamaica Plain High School, he was accepted by Boston University and the University of Massachusetts, however economic necessity directed himt to enroll at what was then Delaware State College (DSC). He first arrived at the DSC campus with a shopping bag of clothing in one arm and a basketball in his other.
Majoring in sociology at DSC, he was an honor student, and although his basketball aspirations did not materialize, he found his athletic calling as a lifeguard and swim instructor in the DSC Memorial Hall swimming pool.
Don earned a B.A. Degree in Sociology from DSC in 1965. He then went on to receive a M.S. degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. During a brief employment stint at a YMCA in Baltimore he met and in 1969 married his wife, Paula Lawson of Baltimore. In 1976 they were blessed with their son Donny.
Don landed a job at the Massachusetts Office of Economic Development and later had a 20-year career as State Director of ACTION (an umbrella federal agency that encompassed VISTA and the Peace Corps).
Don told his wife Paula that he always wanted to own his own business, and work with food while helping young people. Those aspirations led him to take advantage of an introduction by a friend to a McDonalds franchise opportunity.
Entering his 29th year as a McDonald's franchisee, Don estimated that thousands of people have worked for him and he has sent at least 1,000 to one of the institutions of higher education in the state or to McDonald's Hamburger University in Illinois. Don's commitment to the support and growth of his people was his most notable achievement and the many young people who he helped work to meet their goals meant the world to him.
In addition to owning five individual McDonald's franchises in the Boston suburbs, Don and Paula also own venues at four Massachusetts Turnpike Travel Plazas that are each anchored by a McDonald's restaurant. Ever bustling with travelers, the plazas have become showcases of which Don was extremely proud. The Wrights currently provide jobs for more than 700 people within their business network. It has truly been a family enterprise. The Wrights' son, Donny, grew up not just watching the development of his parents' success story, but also learning the business beginning with working behind the counter and in the kitchen. Now Donny is the owner/operator of four McDonald's franchises in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Don believed in 'paying it forward' and demonstrated gratitude for his professional success by sharing his 'time and treasure'. The Wrights' community service includes their financial assistance in the construction of a shelter for battered women in the Cape Verde Islands, support for a Boys and Girls Club in Maynard, Massachusetts, and contributions to many other local projects supporting youth and people in need. Don always felt that giving back should begin with one's college or university, because "college developed you." A Delaware State University donor for years, he backed that talk up by making significant gifts to the DSU Athletics Program for basketball and football scholarships.
Among his many awards and honors, Don received the Mass Minority Contractors "Minority Retailer of the Year Award" and The American Hero Award for commitment to the children of the City of Boston. While his restaurants and his team of employees received many awards over the years, he was especially proud of receiving the 'The Golden Arch Award' for Outstanding Professional Achievement, bestowed to the top 1% of McDonald owner-operators world-wide.
Don was a regular on the greens as a member of Nashawtuc Country Club in Concord until he discovered fishing! Two years ago, he purchased his first boat Miss Kethleen, and shared many 'bucket list' adventures from Martha's Vineyard to the Caribbean with his friends and son Donny as First Mate.
Don's hobbies also included sports, cooking and landscaping for which he received 17 outstanding landscaping awards for his restaurant landscaping.
As far as retirement from his commercial ventures goes, Don always said he doesn't think about it. "When God is ready to call me home, then it is time to retire," he said.
We little knew that morning
God was to call your name.
In life we loved you dearly,
in death we do the same.
It broke our hearts to lose you,
You did not go alone.
For part of us went with you
The day God called you home.
You left us beautiful memories,
Your love is still our guide,
And though we cannot see you,
You are always at our side.
Our family chain is broken,
and nothing seems the same,
But as God calls us one by one,
The chain will link again.
Helen Steiner Rice
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations forthe Donald Wright Memorial Scholarship Fund can be made to: Delware State University Foundation,1200 North DuPont Highway,Dover, Delaware.19901. Online memorial donations will be accepted at www.desu.edu/giving.