Howard Leroy Wright
February 15, 2023
Howard Leroy Wright passed away on 14 January 2023 in Lindon, Utah, a month shy of his 92nd birthday. Cremation has taken place and no services are planned at Howard's request.
He was born on 12 February 1931 on the family farm near Big Sandy, Montana, as the youngest child of John "Bert" Wright and Della Mae Swan/Schwaberow. His parents gave him the name "Howard," but his brothers and sisters added "Leroy."
Howard attended school in Big Sandy and graduated from high school in 1949. He was drafted into the army in 1951 and was selected to go to Southeastern Signal School in Camp Gordon, Georgia. He was later reassigned to Germany. After his discharge in 1953, he returned to Big Sandy and worked for Chouteau and Hill Counties for a while. As a result of all his experiences, he became a jack-of-all-trades and was instilled with a desire to help where he could.
He married Carrol Christenson in 1955. They bought a Nashua trailer and lived in it about a half a mile out of town. After several more odd jobs, he took the civil service exam; and in August 1957, he reported to Calexico, California, and then El Paso, Texas, to become a Border Patrolman. After he graduated, he was assigned back to Calexico. In 1958 he was transferred to Kettle Falls, Washington, which was near his brother and sister in Spokane. In October 1960, he was transferred to Minot, North Dakota. Two years later, he was transferred to Plentywood, Montana.
In Plentywood, they bought an Arabian stallion and two mares with the idea of raising a couple of horses. They also rescued a former race horse that had an unlimited amount of energy.
In June 1966, Howard was transferred to Sweetgrass, Montana; and they moved with four horses and two boys to a farm just south of Sunburst. Since Sunburst was close to Carrol's family in Conrad and Great Falls and the two boys were close to school-age, Howard decided to try to stay there while they were in school.
In 1970 he leased a plot of land at Pinnacle near Essex, Montana, and started building a cabin, or, as he referred to it, his "mountain home". At first Howard and Carrol didn't think they would install electricity; but after the family spent many hours that first Christmas by the light of just a propane lantern, they decided to have it installed.
Howard retired from the Border Patrol in August 1981, and he and Carrol moved to their mountain home at Pinnacle.
Carrol had wanted to be a nurse, but she decided to get married and raise a family instead. After Howard retired and the boys were at college, she applied to a nursing school in Richfield, Utah; and they moved there for the duration of the schooling. She became an LPN, and they then divided the year between the cabin, Conrad, the Kalispell area, and greater Salt Lake where Carrol worked in part-time nursing positions.
In 1991 Carrol passed away from ovarian cancer, and Howard returned to his mountain home. But winters were cold in Pinnacle. He bought a mobile home and started the snowbird life spending summers at the cabin and winters down in southern California and Arizona visiting friends and meeting others who had the same idea. He met Mary Blair from Missoula, Montana, who shared many of his interests; and they started being snowbirds together. They even travelled as far south as Sydney, Australia, to visit one of his sons.
By 2005, they decided that the mobile home was too big; and after Howard had a TIA, arrangements were made for them to spend winters in a place in Yuma, Arizona, and summers in Pinnacle and Missoula. They continued the snowbird life until 2014 when they moved to an assisted care facility in Missoula, Montana. Mary passed away several months later in 2015, and Howard moved to Orem, Utah, to be close to his son and family.
Howard stayed with his son for a couple of years, and then settled into an assisted care facility nearby.
He is survived by 2 sons, 8 nieces and nephews, 2 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren and a brother-in-law.