June 24, 1932 – February 24, 2021
Born in Scottsbluff, NE
Resided in Lincoln, NE

Charles E. Wright

Charles E. Wright, loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather passed away on Wednesday, February 24th, 2021, at the age of 88.

Charlie was born on June 24th, 1932 in Scottsbluff, NE to Floyd and Elsie Wright. He served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy. Charlie received his law degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law, and practiced corporate, banking, university, and non-profit entity law for over 50 years in Colorado and Nebraska. In 1955, he married Suzanne Optiz and they raised two daughters, Anne and Elizabeth.

Growing up in western Nebraska, his upbringing in the great outdoors helped frame who he became later in life. Always outside, he spent most his time fishing, setting muskrat traps, or hunting with his father. A passionate conservationist, his love for fishing and hunting led him to serve two terms as commissioner for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, serve as an inaugural member of the Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation when it was established in 1983.

In the early 50’s, while in college, Charlie was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity and a pitcher for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Baseball team. Perhaps his largest accomplishment during this time was agreeing to go on a blind date with a Kappa Kappa Gamma named Suzy. They fell for each other. It may have been his quick wit, his infectious smile, or his compassion and kindness, regardless, they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. In December of 1955 they were married and became proud parents to two daughters, grandparents to five grandchildren and great-grandparents to four beautiful girls.

After graduating from the University of Nebraska College of Law, Charlie began his career in Denver. He later joined his uncle, Flavel Wright, at Cline-Williams law firm in Lincoln, NE. Charlie was active in bar association activities, was the first president of the Nebraska Continuing Legal Education, Inc., and the first president of the Great Plains Federal Tax Institute. Charlie was director of First National Bank and Trust Company, the Plains Petroleum Corporation, FirsTier Bank and General Counsel for the American Insurance Marketing Corporation. Charlie was also a big supporter of the arts serving as Director/President of the Museum of Nebraska Art for over 14 years.

Charlie’s true passion was for Native American history and Native causes. In 2007, Charlie and Suzy established the Standing Bear Scholarship Fund with the Bar Foundation. The fund provides scholarships for Native American students at the University of Nebraska College of Law. In addition to the scholarship, these interests drove him to write a manuscript titled, Law at Little Big Horn: Due Process Denied. This published book was the culmination of his lifelong passion for law and history.

While his professional accomplishments were vast, his personal ones are immeasurable. Charlie was a die-hard Husker fan who had a knack for story-telling, and his down to earth nature always made everyone feel welcome. Charlie was smart, caring, compassionate and loved his family unconditionally.
Charlie is survived by his loving wife, Suzanne; daughter Anne (Joe) Blazek, and their family: son Nathan (Megan) Blazek and their daughters Madelyn, Presley, and Rowan, daughter Suzanne (Riley) Petersen and their daughter Charlie; daughter Elizabeth Virgillito and her children Mia, Augie, and Lucia.

The family will be having a private service. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the CEDARS Home for Children or the Chief Standing Bear Law School Scholarship at the Nebraska Bar Foundation.

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