GREENVILLE – “I have never been to a party like this before…” This seemed to be a popular comment according to Don Wright following his 80th birthday celebration at Eagles Park Shade Road. More than 200 people attended, including public officials State Rep. Jim Buchy and Darke County Engineer Jim Surber.
Wright is a well-known figure from Greenville’s early years; his sarcastic observations – published and verbal – about the events in his community and today’s public figures have created a long line of followers and detractors. He wanted his friends to help him celebrate 80 years, over 60 of which had been spent in Greenville and Darke County. And they showed up.
“They set up tables and chairs for 150 people,” Wright said. “They had to pull out another 50 and the seats were filled.”
Some of the comments were due to Wright’s recognition of old friends who were gone – friends he would have loved to have seen. The list was read by his son Brad, after which longtime friend Charley James honored them with a toast. “It was hard for me,” Wright said. “That’s why I had Brad read the names… I couldn’t.”
The long-time Greenville resident received a proclamation from the Ohio House of Representatives which said, in part, Wright had the “satisfaction of knowing that you have set an example of service and achievement worthy of emulation.”
Wright thanked everyone who helped put the event together, including his secretary Pat and another longtime friend, Long Haired Susie. He told the crowd if they didn’t like the food, or the refreshments were too weak or if they had any other complaints they could blame Bush (former Pres. G. W. Bush). Another comment the crowd enjoyed was during the middle of the prayer his sister Jan Hawkins offered before dinner… she noted Wright’s slot machines as one of his accomplishments over the years.
Among the celebrants of old and new friends were members of his family: Brad and Jan, brother (Duck Dynasty) Fred, his wife Pepper, and numerous nieces and great nieces.
Don Wright (left) talks to approximately 200 people helping him celebrate his 80th birthday as (L to R) sister Jan Hawkins, wife Pepper Wright and son Brad look on. (Bob Robinson photo)