August 18, 2016
Wilbert Wright, a Dining Services employee for nearly 40 years, died July 24 in Albany, GA. He was 75.
Just 20 when he began work at Skidmore, in 1961, Wilbert was a cook on the old downtown campus until the 1970s, when all dining operations except for Moore Hall moved to the current campus.
Tom Bayer worked in food service with Wilbert on the old campus before switching to the campus post office. From their time in the Fathers’ Hall kitchen together, Tom remembers him fondly. Wilbert cooked for students and other community members until he retired in 1999.
JoJo Moore, a Skidmore cook from 1969 until 2006, knew Wilbert well. He says Wilbert enjoyed collaborating with student workers “and helping them into the system” by patiently sharing some wisdom about the ways of the kitchen. JoJo adds, “We were both Mets fans. We chummed around, and we stayed pretty close” after Wilbert retired. In his younger days, the fact that Wilbert “had a few wild oats in him,” laughs JoJo, “had something to do with why he became a pastor.”
Chuck Ure, a baker in Dining Services, also remembers Wilbert serving as a minister in Saratoga for many decades. Chuck joined the Skidmore staff in 1978 and was Wilbert’s colleague in the kitchen and on summer maintenance projects. He says Wilbert served as a security guard at the Saratoga racetrack each summer for several decades. The two shared a love for the Mets baseball team but a hearty rivalry between the Redskins and the Cowboys in football. When his parents were also part of the close-knit dining staff, Chuck recalls his stepmother Dolores Ure, JoJo, and Wilbert being well known as “the three amigos.”
Throughout his long friendship and his last phone call with Wilbert, Chuck says, “he always ended every conversation with ‘God bless you, Chuck, and your family.’”
Wilbert’s surviving family members are unknown. The funeral was held in Albany, GA, at Zion Christian Fellowship Ministries International on July 30.
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