Vern was born in New Westminster. He also lived in North Vancouver, Frenchman Butte, SK as well as Abbotsford. He passed away peacefully with the love of his family and friends around him after ten months of winning some of his battles against cancer. He was known for the many ways he participated in and gave back to his community, his involvement in local businesses – from helping his dad build the “Wright Block” on Montrose Ave., G & O Service, Central Automotive, John McGowan Motors/Hall Pontiac to Dynamic Conversions and, as a UFV Trades & Technology instructor. He served as a steward and various terms on the Faculty and Staff Association. Vern served a number of years on the BC Aircare Advisory Board. He taught prospective auto mechanics, vehicle inspectors, forklift operators, and farm mechanics. In retirement he subbed or worked the tool crib. One of his hand lettered neckties gifted to him read, “Exactly what part of no don’t you understand?” During his time at UFV, Vern entered a partnership with the University of Colorado at Denver represented by his son, Dr. Sean Wright, to convert a gas over electric hybrid to burn alternate fuels. Vern did the conversion in consultation with Eco Fuel Systems, Langley and others and then CU Denver took the lead in testing and data collection. It was the first such conversion in North America.
A few of his favourite things were drag racing including his share in the “Old Style ’57 Chev” and oval racing; the Canucks, partial sponsorship through his Chevron Station of Jimmy Pattison’s Vancouver Blazers WHA team in the ’70’s; sponsorship of Bob Germain’s minor baseball team from entry age to teenage ; fishing, hunting and horseback riding – overnight cowboy excursions (with saddlebags full of “Magic Pantry” prepared meals); five pin bowling in Abbotsford and ten pin bowling in Sumas, WA; reading – especially biographies, history, or anything in National Geographic; country music – meeting Waylon Jennings at Stu Baines’ house; vintage cars; Pepsi vs Coke; the Kinsmen Club, the Abbotsford Legion, MSA Museum/Trethewey House, Straiton Community Club (he loved dancing), volunteering at Agrifair driving a “people mover”; the RCMP (both the real thing and the beer club by the same acronym); the Abby Hawks and the Propnuts RC flying clubs; his volunteer fireman service at Hall 6; attending Clean Cities Conferences and most of all helping people out and spending time with friends and family – his favourite venue was around a campfire.
He is survived by his wife, Lynne (nee MacKenzie), daughter, Stacy (Todd Geddes) and son, Sean (Tina) and grandchildren: Cassandra and Mackenzie Wright and Nathan, Megan and Taralyn Geddes and many extended family members.
Celebration of life will be held at Straiton Hall, 1 pm, March 21 (4698 Sumas Mountain Road, Abbotsford). Ian Casselman will emcee. Donations in his memory to BC Cancer – Abbotsford in lieu of flowers would be appreciated. Go to https://bccancerfoundation.com/why-give/BC-cancer-centre/abbotsford and click on donate. Copies of the form will be available at the hall for hand delivery or mail in.
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