Linwood "Lin" Frank Wright
FARMINGTON -- Linwood "Lin" Frank Wright, died peacefully and with dignity and grace at the Orchard Park Rehabilitation and Living Center on May 17, 2011.
Lt. Col. Wright, USAF, retired, 85, was born May 31, 1925 in Stratton. He was the first born son of Malcolm and Doris Wright. Upon graduation from Stratton High School, he earned his Maine Guide License under the tutelage of famed Maine Game Warden Helon Taylor.
During WWII, he enlisted in the Cadet/Pilot Training Program and graduated a bomber pilot and commissioned a Second Lieutenant Army Air Corps. After intense pilot training, he arrived in RAF Bassingbourn, England late 1944. He flew three combat air missions as a B-17 Bomber co-pilot, including the second Ploesti Raid over the oil fields in Poland.
After VE Day, he was involved in flying out US and Allied Prisoner of War (POW) soldiers and airmen. Upon leaving England, he volunteered to ferry B-17 Bombers home to the Midwest.
It was during this mission that he met his future wife, Patricia Ann Blake, of Galesberg, IL. After a whirlwind courtship, they were married in Oquossoc on August 23, 1947. Married life found them at the University of Maine in Orono along with hundreds of GI's returning to college after the war. But peaceful college life would be short-lived as Linwood was recalled to participate in the Berlin Airlift.
The largest humanitarian effort to date, he flew over 120 missions between Frankfurt and Berlin, hauling everything from coffins to coal. The Berlin Airlift was the beginning of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union and also the start of the Jet Age.
For the next 20 years, Linwood was involved in keeping the Soviet Union at bay flying the B-29, B-47 and brought the first B-52 Stratofortress to Loring AFB, Presque Isle in June 16, 1956. In June 1966, LTC Wright retired from the Air Force as Director of Safety, 8thAir Force.
He moved his family back to his beloved State of Maine and began a second career as inspector of Maine Aeronautics and retired as director in 1991. His retirement years were kept busy running a farm, serving asChairman of the SAD #9 School Board, president of the Western Maine Transportation Board, member of the American Legion, member of the Quiet Birdmen (QB), and playing the U.S. Air Force's second passion -- golf.
He is survived by his six children, Barbara A. Gooding and her husband, Frank of Saco, Lynne A. Walsh of New Sharon, Jeffrey M. Wright and his wife, Cindy of Farmington, Kim A. Gardner and her husband, Carlton of Greene, Kerry A. Blacker and her husband, Jonathan of Denver, Colorado, and Gregory M. Wright and his wife, Kari of Kennebunkport; 14 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his wife, Patricia, with whom he shared 60 years of marriage.
His family would like to thank all of the caring staff at Orchard Park Rehabilitation and Living Center in Farmington; Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice; Dr. Paul Taylor and Dr. Bert Audette.
Public graveside services with full military honors will be held at the Flagstaff Cemetery, Eustis on Flag Day on Tuesday June 14 at 11 a.m. Remembrance gifts may be given to the Stratton Historical Society, c/o Mary Henderson Stratton, ME 04982.