Mary Lea Nitcher was born in Pomona, Nov. 11, 1927, the daughter of Ray L Nitcher and Buena Vista (Abshire) Nitcher. The family moved to Uniontown in March of 1938, where her father accepted the pastorate of the Missionary Baptist Church of Uniontown and the Dry Ridge Baptist Church.
Mary Lea completed grades 6 through 11 in Uniontown, then taught a one-room rural school, Osage Valley, while finishing up the 12th grade. This was during World War II when teachers were desperately needed. After graduation, Mary Lea attended Fort Scott Junior College and continued teaching.
Mary Lea accepted Jesus as her Saviour at 11 years of age and was baptized in Ottawa.
It was after Mary Lea’s parents moved to Bronson that she met a handsome young lieutenant from the Air Force, who had just returned home after the war. After a brief courtship, they were married Aug. 25, 1946. To this union were born two sons, Terry Eugene Wright and Brent J. Wright, and a daughter, Janelle Elaine Wright. They made their home in Bronson where her husband and his father, E.H. Wright, were engaged in the Bronson Grain elevator.
In 1951, Gerald was recalled into action because of the Korean conflict. They spent 18 months serving in Fair Oaks, Calif., San Antonio, Texas, and Riverside, Calif.
Mary Lea returned to Bronson with her husband and sons in 1952. Janelle was born in 1955 and when Janelle was 8 months old, the Wrights purchased the Iola Milling Company and moved to Iola and have resided there since that time.
Mary Lea loved the Lord, her family and life. At one time, she was active in the Sorosis Club and Music Club. She was an active member of the First Baptist Church for 45 years, teaching Sunday School and directing the church choir, as well as helping with the women’s work, funeral dinners, etc. Mary Lea has been attending the Iola Baptist Temple since 1989. She loved caring for her home and gardening. She was an avid seamstress, making many dresses for her six granddaughters as well as concentrating on quilting in later years, finishing a quilt for each of her eleven grandchildren. She was always excited for family to come and anxious to prepare the food she thought they would enjoy. Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas morning breakfast were planned for days in advance and were always so special to her.
Mary Lea was preceded in death by her parents, the Rev. and Mrs. Ray Nitcher, her mother and father-in-law, E. H. and Nona Wright, her husband, Gerald Lormor Wright, her brother, Max Nitcher, her sister, Carol Nitcher Shoaf, her daughter-in-law, Claudette Olive Wright, a great granddaughter, Claudette Elliott, two grandsons-in-law, Philip Groner & Dustin Elliott.
Mary Lea is survived by her three children, Terry and Karen Horsell Wright (Overland Park), Brent and Janet Wright (Ottawa) and Janelle and Dennis Kershner (Iola), brothers, Raymond Nitcher (Little Rock, Ark.) and Rowland Nitcher (Lubbock, Texas); 11 grandchildren, Allyson Wright Groner (Clive, Iowa), Annye Wright Howell (Paul) (Overland Park), Jacob Wright (Atlanta, Ga.,), John Wright (Hilary) (Broomfield, Colo.), Todd Wright (Catherine) (Ottawa), Audra Wright Sherman (Ryan) (Boise, Idaho), Alyvia Wright Elliott (Kansas City, Mo.), Joshua Wright (Shawna) (Moscow, Idaho), Aryn Lea Wright (Boise, Idaho), Cahlea Rose Crawford Drescher (Tyler) (Augusta), and Zachary Crawford (Fort Scott), two stepgranddaughters, Kayle Fleenor (Sam), Spring Hill, and Hannah O’Keefe (Andy), Bucyrus. She is also survived by 16 great-grandchildren and nine stepgreat-grandchildren.
Mary Lea left the family with an important note that she will look forward to meeting all her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in heaven as well as seeing her dad and mother and husband, as she knows they are there but that she longs to see the Saviour most of all.
Visitation for Mary Lea will be at 10 a.m. Friday at First Christian Church, 1608 Oregon Rd., Iola, with services to follow at 11. Memorials may be made to Iola Baptist Temple and may be left with the funeral home. Condolences for the family may be left online at www.feuerbornfuneral.com.