WINFIELD – Veteran Putnam Circuit Clerk Don Wright died Oct. 13 at his Winfield home. He was 77.
Wright had been circuit clerk for 26 years, and was sheriff for eight years before that.
"We just loved Don," said Darlene Smith, office manager of the circuit clerk's office and interim circuit clerk. "He serenaded us all of the time. He loved Eddy Arnold and Patsy Cline."
Wright had battled kidney cancer last year, and he was diagnosed with lung cancer in June. He was supposed to start radiation therapy this week, Smith said.
"We thought he would just bounce back, like he always did before," Smith said.
Smith said Wright was a hands-on circuit clerk.
"And he treated everyone the same," she said. "He was a good man, and he was fair. He was here in the office every day. He was in court for any jury trial, seating jurors."
While she's been named interim clerk, Smith said Chief Circuit Judge Ed Eagloski will appoint a permanent replacement soon. That replacement must be a Republican, like Wright. Smith is a Democrat. The replacement will serve until the next county elections are held in November 2008.
Eagloski was out of town at a judicial conference and unavailable for comment.
Smith said Wright also never missed any of his grandchildren's extraciricular activities, such as sporting events.
"He loved his family, and he loved his job," Smith said. "He just loved people."
He was a retired employee of Goodrich Gulf Chemical with 19 years service and a former Union Carbide employee for 5 years.
Surviving are his wife, Nina Wears Wright; his children and their spouses, Chris (Browne) and Bobby Norris of Hurricane, Fred and Dee Wright, Bodie and Angie Wright all of Winfield; his grandchildren, Andrew, Aaron and Allie Browne of Hurricane, Adam, Chad, Matthew, Brandon and Carrie Beth Wright of Winfield; as well as several nieces and nephews.