Dr. Thelma Juanita Wright, age 99, of Bristol, Virginia, passed away on Saturday, September 7, 2019, at The Hermitage in Richmond, Virginia. Born on March 27, 1920, in Marion, Virginia, she was the daughter of the Reverend C. H. Wright and Minnie S. Wright. Thelma Wright was a graduate of Knoxville High School in Knoxville, Tennessee and Emory and Henry College in the midst of war in 1943. Following graduation, like so many of her contemporaries, she served her country during World War II by joining the Red Cross and serving in American Hospitals in France after the liberation of Paris and in closing out hospitals in England, Germany and Austria. Following the war, Thelma enrolled at Emory University where she received her Master of Arts degree in 1948 and began her long and distinguished career as a teacher at St. John's Church in Augusta, Georgia. Thelma also taught in Russell County, Virginia, Saltville, Virginia and then in Maryland. In the mid - 1950's and 1960's, Thelma taught the children of U.S. Army personnel stationed in France and Japan. Returning home to Bristol, Virginia she served as visiting teacher at Virginia High School and later as supervisor of special education for 22 counties and cities in Southwest Virginia for several years. In 1969, Thelma Wright received her Doctorate of Education from the University of Virginia. She then resumed her professional career as supervisor for special education and as a school psychologist for Smyth and Washington Counties. Thelma retired in 1982 from the Virginia Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation as assistant director of training personnel at Southwestern State Hospital in Marion, Virginia. In 1984, Thelma joined the Peace Corps for a two-year tour of duty in Jamaica where she worked as a school psychologist for the Micro CARE Center in Kingston and at Catherine Hall Primary School in Montego Bay. Following her service in the Peace Corps Thelma volunteered to work with special needs children at the Red Bird Mission and Clinic in rural Beverly, Kentucky. Retiring again to Bristol, Virginia, Thelma enjoyed traveling the world with her close friends and was an active member in her church - State Street United Methodist. In addition to her parents, Thelma Wright was preceded in death by her two brothers, the Reverend Carlton Wright and the Reverend William Wright; and three sisters, Alberta W. Roller, Aline W. McCloud, and Iva Wright. Survivors include three nephews, David Wright and David McCloud of Richmond, Virginia, and Mark McCloud of Naples, Florida; three nieces, Sharon W. Carter of Caroline County, Virginia, Patricia R. Hylton of Lynchburg Virginia, and Jean R. Riddle of Georgetown, Kentucky, and great nieces and nephews. Burial and a graveside service will be held 1 p.m. Thursday, September 12, 2019, at the Holston Conference Cemetery in Emory, Virginia.

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