Cover photo for Thomas Gordon Wright's Obituary
Thomas Gordon Wright Profile Photo
1939 Thomas 2021

Thomas Gordon Wright

March 28, 1939 — September 2, 2021

Thomas Gordon Selders Wright passed away from complications of diabetes and kidney failure on September 2, 2021 at age 82. He was born on March 28, 1939 to Dorothy Mae Selders at West Hollywood, California. He was subsequently raised and adopted by Emil D. and Ruth Agnes Selders Wright. He spent his early childhood during World War II in Clarkston, Washington where his father worked in the local sawmill and operated a 2nd hand repair shop. While in California, his father graduated from the Church of the Four Square Gospel Los Angeles, California and was subsequently assigned as pastor at their church in Lapwai, Idaho in about 1945. He labored as a pastor until 1949 when the family moved to Pocatello, Idaho. Tom received his early education at Washington and Lincoln Elementary Schools, Alameda and Irving Junior High Schools. He graduated from Pocatello High School with the Class of 1958.

He enlisted in the U. S. Navy at Pocatello, Idaho September 3rd, 1958 and was assigned to the Naval Recruit Depot, San Diego, California for basic training. He was then assigned to Naval Aviation Fundamental School, Norman, Oklahoma for instruction and ultimately transferred to the Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Kingsville, Texas for duty. While at Kingsville, Tom changed rates from General Aviation to Personnel where he worked in Personnel and was advanced to Petty Officer Third Class Personnel man. Prior to being transferred to the USS PONCHATOULA (AO-148) at Pearl Harbor, he passed the test for advancement to Petty Officer Second Class. While serving on the USS PONCHATOULA (AO-148), he was assigned to the Diary and Reenlistment Desk in the Ship's Office. During his tour on the PONCHATOULA, the ship received various orders to provide services in Mid-Pacific, West Pacific and OPERATION DOMINIC I in the Christmas/Johnson Islands areas where atomic testing was being conducted.

On January 5, 1962, Thomas Married Joan Margaret Porter which was later solemnized in the Idaho Falls Temple. They had 4 children named David, Scott, Michael and Jennifer.

Thomas went on to change his career field in the U. S. Navy to Signal Intelligence as a Communications Technician (R). He served in the Naval Security Group Command at Kami Seya, Japan, USS OXFORD (AGTR-1) in Vietnam, USS JAMESTOWN (AGTR-3) in Vietnam along with two assignments at the National Security Agency, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. His twilight tour of duty prior to retirement was at Naval Communications Area Master Station, Eastern Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii where he was a Supervisor at Net Control for the Pacific High Frequency Direction Finding activities at Wahiawa, Hawaii. He retired from the Naval Service in October 1977 as Chief Communications Technician (CTRC).

Thomas and his young family returned to his Home of Record, Pocatello, Idaho following his active service. He taught Naval Science at his alma mater Pocatello High School during the School Year 1979 – 80. He went on to work for and made a career with the U. S. Postal Service, Pocatello, Idaho as a Letter Carrier for ten years and in Postal Maintenance for an additional ten years, retiring in the Fall of 2000. He and his wife Joan went into their retirement years enjoying their extended family for many years until her passing in 2012. After his wife’s passing, Thomas became interested and active in Family History where he managed and worked actively on 12 Family Trees on Ancestry and Family Search. Through Ancestry DNA Estimates, research into Family History along with techniques learned as a signal intelligence analyst, he was able to identify his biological father and bring that unknown aspect of his life to fruition. Tom also was able to use the DNA of his son Scott to find his Maternal mother Marilee (Harris) Billings in 2018.

Both Thomas and Joan were supporters as well as contributors to Idaho State University Bengal Athletics throughout their years in Pocatello. They were particularly interested in the Idaho State Women’s Basketball program.

Thomas is survived by his son, Scott Wright; son, Michael Wright; daughter, Jennifer Campbell; 10 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his spouse, Joan Wright; mother, Ruth Wright; father, Emil Wright; brother, Phil Wright; and son, David Wright.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, September 9, 2021, at 11 am at Colonial Chapel, 2005 S.4th Ave, Pocatello, ID. Visitation will be from 10 to 11 am prior. Burial, with military honors, will take place following the services at Mountain View Cemetery, 1520 S. 5th Avenue Pocatello, ID.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Thomas Gordon Wright, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, September 9, 2021

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

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Funeral Ceremony

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Mountain time)

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