Clymer Lewis Wright Jr., who helped define the Houston region over decades as a crusading journalist and later activist for community and conservative causes, died at his home over the weekend. He was 79.
One of his earliest accomplishments came as the young editor of the Fort Bend Reporter in the mid-1950s. Despite death threats targeting him and his family, he worked closely with state authorities to rid that county and Galveston of long-entrenched organized crime and gambling syndicates.
His unique personality of warm confidence, hearty laugh and a zest for life could instantly uplift friends and allies -- and disarm adversaries.
Wright waged a years-long effort to convince Ronald Reagan to run for President. He was a leader of Texans for Reagan in 1968 and served as the Texas Finance Chairman for Reagan’s 1980 victory for the Presidency.
In the early 1990s , he organized Citizens for Term Limitations and the election initiative that capped the number of terms in office for Houston elected officials.
Wright recently headed his community association’s winning legal battle to conserve the public spaces that had been part of the Inwood Forest Golf Country Club. He remained very active in area issues of public interest and conservative candidates until his death.
He had been an executive with AFLAC for the past 18 years, after careers in publishing area newspapers and real estate ventures.
The Korean War Army veteran confidently and unabashedly declared his Christian faith in his daily life. His compassion could be seen in his extensive support for charitable groups, and his work for the alumni association of his beloved Southern Mississippi University.
As a journalism student at Southern Miss, he met his future wife, Sandra Jean Lee. She was the mother of his three children during their 34-year marriage, which ended in her death in 1988. For the past 20 years, he was married to Mary Katherine Wright, his longtime partner in AFLAC work. She passed away last Nov. 11.
He is survived by his 3 children: Cindy Wright Gabriel and husband George Flynn; Clymer Wright III and wife Toni of Arizona; and Linda Wright Tomasetti and husband Barry of Pennsylvania. Others are sister Suzanne Gillis of Houston; brother Michael Wright of North Carolina: grandchildren Laura and Julia Gabriel; Christopher Wright; and Barry Jr., Corey and Kerry Tomasetti: and great-grandson Nathan Wright. Recently, Clymer Wright also had been proudly caring for and helping to raise grandniece Haley.
The family suggests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Clymer’s honor to the Center for Hearing and Speech, 3636 W. Dallas, Houston, 77019.
Visitation will be Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Heights Funeral Home, 1317 Heights Blvd. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Christchurch Baptist Fellowship, 12501 Champion Forest Dr. in Houston.