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Obituary: Dorothy Wright of Mt. Diablo's Wright Canyon

Wright lived at the eastern foot of Mt. Diablo on 76-acres of land she donated to the conservation organization, Save Mount Diablo. A celebration of her life will be held in Clayton on Nov. 18.

Information in this obituary was provided by Claudia Phippen, Eric Valverde, Tom Wright, Seth Adams, Dick Heron, Anne Homan, and Craig Rideau.

Dorothy Tudder Wright, born in Eugene, Oregon on Dec. 14, 1920 to Grover Cleveland Tudder and Sarah Adele (Johnson) Tudder, came to California as a baby and grew up in Oakland. She was active at Roosevelt High School, editor of the newspaper, The Roosevelt Crimson, and attended the University of California, Berkeley until the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

During World War II, Dorothy worked for Standard Oil Co. as assistant Personnel Manager and then as Personnel Manager in charge of hiring women for the Richmond Refinery, to replace the men called for military duty. She also married her high school sweetheart, Martin Wright, who became an officer on a naval minesweeper. 

At the conclusion of the war, Dorothy and Martin purchased 150 acres at the eastern foot of Mt. Diablo and operated a resort business, Curry Creek Park, which had originally been created by Martin’s grandparents Sylvester and Louise Olofson, who moved to Curry Canyon in 1896 and started Curry Creek Park in 1925. This involved picnicking and swimming for groups as well as being open to the public. Within six years, they had five children including a set of twins, Claudia, Diana, Cindy, Tom and Judy. Dorothy and Martin ran the business for 38 years until 1979, and rented permanent mobile homes and cottages.

Besides charitable volunteer work, Dorothy earned a real estate license and worked as a salesman for ten years in the 1980s and '90s. She played flute for 35 years as a member of the Diablo Light Opera orchestra, the Contra Costa Musical Theatre orchestra, other chamber music groups and solo performances.

Martin passed away in 1999. In 2001, Dorothy sold the family’s remaining 76 acres to Save Mount Diablo, a local conservation organization, with life estate which allowed her to live on the property for the remainder of her life. On October 12, 2008, a historical monument to the Olofsons and Wrights was dedicated at the top of the property overlooking Curry Canyon. Known as the family “Gathering Place,” ashes of four generations have been spread there.

Dorothy’s daughters Judy Wright (deceased 1993), Diana Jo Barr (deceased 2001), husband Martin Wright (deceased 1999) and sister Sarah Eleanor (deceased 2009) preceded her.  She is survived by daughter Claudia Dell Phippen, Bethel Island & granddaughter Lea Marie Lasater, Concord; daughter Diana’s sons, grandsons Eric Valverde, Brentwood & Jamey Robison, Beaverton, OR and great-granddaughters Joanna & Jaelynn Robison; daughter Cindy Lou Wright, Susanville & son Tom Wright, Clyde.  With the help of her loving friend and caregiver, Ken Arentz, Dorothy passed away at home on October 29, 2012.  

Celebration of Life

An event celebrating Dorothy’s life will be held at Wright Canyon on Sunday, November 18, 2012, at 2:00 pm, 4390 Morgan Territory Road, Clayton, CA  94517.  Please r.s.v.p. to smdinfo@SaveMountDiablo.org or call (925) 947-3535. A private family ceremony will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to Save Mount Diablo (www.savemountdiablo.org), hospice, or a charity of your choice.

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