Thursday, October 19, 2006


Kennith Noal Wright Jr., was born October 19 in Houston, Texas. When he was 4 they moved to Houma, Louisiana. After a brief stay (not brief enough, according to family legend) they moved to Dallas, then Irving where the family business was born.

He grew up like most guys: school, sports, friends, pesky little brother, the usual. Think 'Leave It To Beaver' (he's Wally) and you have an idea what life was like. He loved football and played until 7th grade. A 6-inch-in-8-months growth surge along with rough contact resulted in knee problems. This led to the discovery of his first real gift: he could beat the pants off almost anyone at golf and could drive a ball 250 yards by the time he was a Sophomore. For some reason he chose not to pursue golf after High School but remained a scratch player the rest of his life.

He went to Baylor, majored in Accounting and passed the first 2 parts of the C.P.A. exam. After graduation he was at a crossroads: pursue his dream of working for one of the large accounting firms or come into the family business. His decision to enter the family business affected all our lives and will echo for at least another generation.

For several years life was exciting: the business was growing and prosperous, the family grew, the future looked good. He found his second and third real gifts: marketing and an uncanny ability to make money in ways no one had thought of for our industry. He was a true visionary. Though liked and admired by many he wasn't what you would call a people person or manager, he just didn't have the patience for it. But, with Mom's frugalness (she could stretch a dollar farther than anyone I know) and my Beautiful Wife's hyper-organizational and administrative skills we made a good team.

He fought alcoholism for several years, losing the battle on September 22 at the age of 37.

That day mother lost son, brother lost brother, sister-in-law lost brother-in-law, 4 children lost an uncle, and 2 boys lost a father. Not long afterwards cancer took Mom and the sons moved away.

I am a better husband and father for having a brother like Kenny. I learned from some of his mistakes but more importantly I learned from his courage and the gifts he shared. To this day I haven't met anyone with his gifts for business. I remember his child-like enthusiasm and insatiable curiosity. I wouldn't trade any of the pain to have missed the joy.

Norman Maclean says it best:
"But when I am alone in the half light of the canyon all existence seems to fade to a being with my soul and memories. And the sounds of the Big Black Foot River and a four count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters."

Happy Birthday Brother.



Anonymous Cory said...

It's amazing how things like alcoholism (which plagued your brother) and depression (which plagues me) are overlooked as killers.

My uncle, for all intents and purposes, looks as though he has conquered alcoholism. He was a huge drug and alcohol user in college, but somewhere along the line, thanks probably to an ex-wife's divorce and subsequent forgiveness, he has been able to live with alcoholism. He has not touched a bottle in, I believe, a couple decades. He is extremely lucky to recognize that he is susceptible to abusing alcohol, though, and because of that, he still labels himself an alcoholic. According to him, even in sobriety, it will be a lifelong battle, which he will never outright win, but the bottle could at any time. He is therefore a devout follower of AA and organizer of shelters and other charities for alcoholics who have had their life heavily damaged by the bottle.

It is smarts, and perhaps family ties, that have catapulted him into a VP office of a regional bank chain. However, he considers it a gift from his deity, and has learned somehow that he needs to share his riches (by riches, I mean both literally and in the sense of lessons, wisdom, etc.)with others.

He is a lucky man, and I am more educated for it. No stone must be left unturned. Depression and alcoholism are tied in with oneanother, and from what I can see, each can be a cause of the other.

I'm very sorry your brother wasn't able to find a way to live healthfully with alcoholism, but it's great that you honored him enough to acknowledge that alcoholism doesn't make a person a bad apple. He brought something to the table, and you were able to take a heaping spoonful.

5:36 PM, October 19, 2006  

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