Companion Willie Joe Wright was born in Merit, Hunt County, Texas, on August 13, 1920. He attended Public School one year in Merit then moved to Sims, Bowie County, Texas, and graduated from Sims High School in May l936. He lettered four years in track, football and baseball. Attended Aeronautics Institute of Technology, Los Angeles, California. Enlisted in the United States Navy, April 13, 1940. During the war years he served aboard the U.S.S. Pensacola and U.S.S. California in numerous engagements throughout the Pacific Theater. was assigned to U.S.S. Holder in 1947; put this ship in commission in Orange, Texas. He attended Advanced Fire Control Technician School, Annacosta, Virginia. Returned to U.S.S. Holder. In 1955, he was transferred to U.S.S. Siera Repair Ship in Norfolk, Virginia. In T957 was transferred to U. S. Naval Receiving Station, New Orleans, Louisiana, and was an Instructor at the Instructors School for the Eighth Naval District. He retired from the Navy, October 30, 1959, and has been in the ranching and cattle business since that time. On July 18, 1963, he was in a hay baler accident resulting in the loss of his right arm and part of his right shoulder.
He was married to Belinda Gibson on December 9, 1950, in the First Methodist Church in Sulphur Springs, Texas, of which they are both members. Companion Wright is a member of the Official Board of his Church and a Sunday School Teacher for various classes. They have one son, Captain Charles Ray Wright, a jet pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps.
He was Raised a Master Mason in Atlantic Lodge No. 2, A.F. & A.M., Norfolk, Virginia, as a courtesy to Greenville Lodge No. 335, Greenville, Texas, on June 26, 1950. He demitted and affiliated with Sulphur Springs Lodge No. 221, A.F. & A.M., Sulphur Springs, Texas in l964, and served as Worshipful Master 1971-72. Served the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas as District Deputy Grand Master of the Seventh Masonic District in 1975.
Exalted to the sublime degree of Royal Arch Mason in Sulphur Springs Chapter No. 63, R.A.M., in Sulphur Springs, May 7, 1967 and served as High Priest in 1970-71; and R:E: District Deputy Grand High Priest of the 7th District of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Texas in 1975. He was elected Grand Scribe in l975, passed through the chairs and was elected M:E: Grand High Priest in l987. He is the Grand Representative of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Tennessee near the Grand Chapter of Texas.
Greeted a Royal and Select Master in Sulphur Springs Council No. 44, R.&S.M. in Sulphur Springs, April 20, 1967, and served as Thrice Illustrious Master in 1970-71. Served as R:I: District Deputy Grand Master of the 7th District in 1978. He is the Grand Representative of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of Delaware near the Grand Council of Texas. He was elected Right Illustrious Grand Principal Conductor of the work in December 1979, passed through the chairs and was elected and installed as Most-Illustrious Grand Master of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of Texas on December 8, 1981 and served during the year 1982.
Knighted in DeMolay Commandery No. 20, K.T., Greenville, Texas, on June 17, 1967; and served as Eminent Commander during the year 1973. He is a Life Sponsor of the Knights Templar Eye Foundation.
Companion Wright is a member of the Dallas Scottish Rite Bodies.
He is a member of the Royal Order of Scotland; the Order of High Priesthood; Order of the Silver Trowel; Super Excellent Masters Degree; Texas York Rite College; Knights York Cross of Honour and served as Prior of Texas Priory No. 23; Red Cross of Constantine; Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests; member of Hella Shrine Temple in Dallas, Texas, and has served as the President of the Northeast Shrine Club twice.