Richard B. Wright – 1937 – 2017

Ridley is saddened to share the news that former faculty member, Richard B. Wright passed away suddenly this morning, February 7th, 2017. He was 79 years of age.

Richard was a distinguished novelist, member of the Order of Canada, and won three major Canadian literary awards – The Giller Prize, the Trillium Book Award, and the Governor General’s Award – for his 14 novels and published memoir.

He was also an outstanding and beloved teacher of English at Ridley from 1976 to 1980 and again from 1986 to 2001. During his time at the School, and as holder of the first Cronyn Chair, Richard made a tremendous impact, established Voices (the literary journal) as well as the Literary Dinner. He will also be remembered for his enthusiasm in coaching league soccer.

Richard will be dearly missed by a far-reaching community of Ridleians. Details of a memorial service will be forthcoming.

Our heart-felt condolences go out to Richard’s family; his sons Christopher (Vicki) and Andrew ‘90 (Wendy), and grandchildren Gage, Millie, Sydney, Abbey and Nathan.

Listen to the 610 CKTB Interview with Wendy Darby.

12 thoughts on “Richard B. Wright – 1937 – 2017”

  1. Another huge loss for the Ridley family. Richard was a much beloved, admired and respected teacher and colleague. He was the definition of the classic school master through his involvement and support of all things Ridley. What a priviledge to have known and worked with Richard.

  2. Memories flood. He’s with his true love now.
    RIP Richard.
    A beautiful life and a beautiful human being.
    He definitely left his mark.
    I’ve lost a dear friend.

  3. I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Mr Wright. He was absolutely the best teacher I ever had at Ridley. Most of my fondest classroom memories were spent in his classroom! His passion to teach was matched only by his compassion for his students. I will truly miss Mr Wright, may he rest in peace, and may his family find comfort in knowing that Mr Wright touched the lives of many.

  4. One of my regrets at Ridley, one which I’m sure my contemporaries between 1980 and 1986 would agree, was being in the Upper School in years that Richard was not and therefore missing out on learning from him. He likely didn’t know many of us, but we sure knew about him and his many literary accomplishments! It is indeed, as Brian said, a huge loss for the Ridley family. RIP.

  5. I remember waiting in great anticipation for Richard’s arrival at Ridley, it being delayed as he was in Britain picking up a literary award. He was a wonderful teacher, mentor, friend and School House faculty member. I’ll be forever thankful for his convincing my parents I’d make a lousy accountant. My sincere condolences to his family.

  6. Richard was definitely “one of my favourite things” about my four years spent teaching at Ridley. As a colleague, he inspired and supported me and as a friend, he made me laugh. His humour, his kindness and his humanity are what I will remember. Rest now Richard and know that you will be greatly missed.

  7. A great teacher and a very interesting man. Had the pleasure of being a pupil and travelling to Russia with him for fourth dimension (someone had to keep Emmitt from getting arrested). He was one of those teachers that underscore the importance of the profession and the impact that individuals can have on the lives of others.

  8. Profoundly saddened to hear this news. Mr. Wright had an enormous impact on my time at Ridley, but has also continued to influence me long since then. I have thought of him often, and he has been something of a voice of conscience for me, quietly asking if I am writing enough or doing the right kind of writing. I regret not having the chance to sit down and discuss these questions in person. Sympathies to his children and grandchildren for their great loss.

  9. I am so saddened by the loss of Richard B Wright. He was an amazing teacher that managed to make everything he taught seem current and important. He even made the Canterbury Tales leap off their ancient pages and seem relevant to a group of self-consumed high school students.

    I was lucky and honoured to have been present for his winning of the Giller Prize. I attended the event as an employee of McClelland & Stewart who represented a different nominee but my heart sided with my esteemed past English teacher. When he won, he spoke with his usual humble and soft demeanour. He forever an observer of life, catching the truth of the world with his pen.

  10. As a colleague and friend in the English Department i saw first hand the impact that Richard had on his many students. I was particularly impressed by the simplicity of his teaching strategies and methods: a board, a piece of chalk, a book, a love of his students and a passion for literature. His objectives were to engage and inspire, and his outcomes now speak and write for themselves.
    Many outstanding accolades over the years for his novels and his memoir; lovely now to read the tributes to his teaching. He was that rare pedagogue, one who aimed to learn as much from his students as he taught them.

  11. Richard Wright was a thoughtful and inspiring teacher who encouraged us to love reading Canadian literature. He taught us that author’s do not write books for them to be dissected, but rather to encourage us to think about the human condition. On winter days when it was clear that we were all weary, he would have us put away our books and read to us, often from his latest novel of the time “Farthings Fortunes”. He inspired me to love Canadian Literature and to later attend Trent University. Thank you Richard, for the postiive difference you made. RIP

  12. I am very sad to hear this news.
    We were very fortunate to have such a great author for a teacher. His voice still appears in my head telling me to shorten my sentences! Richard’s books are throughout our home and so we have those to remember him by.
    My condolences to all those close to him. Rest In Peace.

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