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Published: Wednesday, 3/24/2004

Minister headed mayor's campaign to boost prostate cancer awareness

Theodore A. Wright, 70, a former gospel music broadcaster, police officer, real estate agent, and minister known as an advocate for people in need, died of a heart attack Saturday in Medical College of Ohio Hospitals.

Mr. Wright of West Toledo was named chairman of Mayor Jack Ford's Coalition for Prostate Cancer Awareness and Education, a group formed in September, 2002. Mr. Wright and a group of other volunteers created a calendar that featured the stories of 12 men who conquered prostate cancer.

Although Mr. Wright did not have prostate cancer, he volunteered for the effort because "he felt that men should still know to go and get themselves checked out," his wife, Robin, said.

During his 2004 State of the City address, Mayor Ford recognized Mr. Wright for his leadership in the effort.

Mr. Wright was a city of Toledo employee. Hired initially by the former department of neighborhoods, he helped address constituent complaints. Another duty was to assist the Elder Friendly business certification program of the Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio.

"He was a man of the people who never lost sight of his roots," Mayor Ford said last night.

Mr. Wright ran unsuccessfully for state representative in 1988 and 1990 as a Republican against Democrat and longtime officeholder Casey Jones.

His wife said he stood up the underdog, for "the ones people didn't take time to listen to what they would say. He wanted to be there. He always wanted to allow people to achieve whatever they wanted to achieve."

He was formerly an executive assistant at the House of Day Mortuary.

Mr. Wright was born in Rossford and was a graduate of Rossford High School. He was a veteran of the Army Signal Corps and worked for the former Libbey-Owens-Ford Co.

He had a catering business and owned a soul food restaurant in the 1960s. He was a police officer in Spencer Township in the early 1970s and was the host of gospel music programs on radio stations WVOI and WKLR. He also put together and promoted gospel music concerts.

He became a minister in the 1980s and formerly performed marriages at the Lucas County Courthouse. He became a bishop in 1997 to signify his duty as overseer of An House of Prayer, on Angola Road, said Pastor Mary D. Freelon, who officiated at the ceremony.

"He was very conscientious, and he did a real good job," Pastor Freelon said. "He believed in the word of God, and he was very dedicated to the cause." He was also associate minister of New Kingdom Missionary Baptist Church.

Surviving are his wife, Robin Williams-Wright, whom he married Aug. 24, 1998; sons, Timothy Brock and Theodore A. Wright, Jr.; daughters, Carolyn Brock and Roxanne Wright; stepsons, Donnie Williams and David and Tony Mitchell; stepdaughter, Catina Fields; and 12 grandchildren.

There will be no visitation. Memorial services will be held at noon tomorrow in Warren AME Church. Arrangements are by the Tate Funeral Service.

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