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Published: Friday, 1/4/2008

Tiffin resident owned WTTF, also served on Mercy board

TIFFIN - Richard J. Wright, 66, former owner and general manager of radio station WTTF in Tiffin and chairman of the board of trustees at Tiffin's Mercy Hospital, died Tuesday in the hospital. He suffered a heart attack, his wife, Anna Mae "Ann" Wright, said.

Mr. Wright worked at WTTF, 1600-AM, since his father, Robert G. Wright, founded the station in 1959. He first served as engineer for his brother Robert E. Wright's radio program, Mrs. Wright said, and later became the station's owner and general manager.

Mr. Wright is still listed on WTTF's Web site as an assistant engineer.

"He loved electronics," Mrs. Wright said. "He has a whole garage full of electronics, computers, you name it. He loved to build that kind of stuff. I mean, he built up the radio station."

Mr. Wright was born in Jackson, Mich., and was a 1959 graduate of Mount Clemens High School in Mount Clemens, Mich. His wife said he moved to Tiffin after graduation and went to work at the radio station started by his father and Milton Maltz.

Mrs. Wright said her husband always stayed behind the scenes as an engineer, while his brother hosted a country music show and later a call-in show.

Mr. Wright took over running the station in the 1970s after his father retired, and he sold the station in 1997, a year after his brother died in a car accident.

"It just wasn't fun for him anymore after his brother died," Mrs. Wright recalled.

Mr. Wright's term as chairman of the board of trustees at Mercy Hospital was to end March 31. He was involved with the ground-breaking for the new Mercy Hospital campus at the U.S. 224 site in Tiffin in 2006 and remained a part of the project.

Mrs. Wright said her husband also served on the hospital's advisory board for two terms.

"Dick provided guidance and direction for the new hospital and was instrumental in its foundation and upcoming completion," Dale Thornton, the hospital's president and chief executive officer, said in a release.

Mr. Wright is survived by his wife of 44 years, Anna Mae; sons, Terrence and Todd; daughters, Tammy Schalk, Tonya Fields, and Tracy Bevelander, and five grandchildren.

Visitation will be after 2 p.m. today at Traunero Funeral Home, Tiffin. A funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow in St. Joseph Church, Tiffin. The family suggests tributes to Mercy Hospital in the care of the mortuary.

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