Steve E. Wright IV CRAFTSBURY — Steve E. Wright IV, 78, of Craftsbury died at home Jan. 16, 2020. Steve was born Dec. 12, 1941, to Stephen Egbert Wright III and Mary Will Johnson Wright, in Milledgeville, Georgia. After his father’s death, his mother’s marriage to Felix Billue in 1949 introduced Steve to a family tradition of hunting and fishing. These pursuits led to a lifelong love of the outdoors, and shaped his career choices. Family life with two sons, hunting dogs and a tolerant wife was filled with sports, music, square dancing and always hunting, fishing, paddling, roaming the woods and lots of storytelling. Steve could rally a room full of people or hold a dinner party rapt. Storytelling served him well as an educator and advocate, and endeared him to friends, colleagues and students. He loved sports and played baseball, basketball, football and tennis. Later in life. he played town league baseball with his sons. Steve earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Georgia Southern College, and a Master’s degree in Aquatic Biology/Fisheries from University of Georgia. In 1968, Steve and his wife, Susan, moved with their newborn son, Stephen, to Craftsbury, Vermont. First hired as a science teacher at the Sterling School, Steve spent 25 years at what eventually became Sterling College. During that time, he held positions as an outdoor educator, in administration and public relations, and for three years, as Sterling’s president. Steve inspired students. Long after his Sterling years, former students continued to ask him for career guidance. Steve took three leaves of absence from Sterling: a 1974 return to Georgia where he worked as a County Extension agent focused on natural resources programming for young people; two years (1979/80) as a Wilderness manager for the U.S. Forest Service on the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in Idaho; and served as commissioner of Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department from 1985-1988. Deeply committed to habitat conservation, Steve didn’t shy away from the challenges in that work. He served seven years on the Vermont State Environmental Board. As a member of the “Rise to the Future” initiative, his leadership helped quadruple the USDA-Forest Service fisheries budget, increasing angling opportunities in our national forests. He retired in 2009 after eight years as New England regional representative for the National Wildlife Federation as a climate change educator. Barely two years into retirement, Steve became a leading voice opposed to siting 21 turbines along three miles of the Lowell Mountains. It was his last role as an educator – to help Vermonters understand that preserving intact upland forest was more valuable climate action than generating electricity. Today, protecting high elevation forest from fragmentation is a cornerstone of Vermont’s climate change policy. Steve continued to hunt, fish and canoe as much as his deteriorating health from Parkinson’s allowed. He was known locally for his photographs, and was a familiar sight along town roads, hovering over his camera, waiting for perfect light. He is survived by his sons, Stephen E. Wright V and Starker Wright; his former wife, Susan Wright; granddaughters Cortland Wright and Brooks Wright and their mother, Lynn Wallace; brothers Frank Billue and Philip Wright and wife Diane; nephew Wesley Wright and niece Erin Wright. Friends and colleagues are invited to a celebration of Steve’s life April 11, 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. at Sterling College. Arrangements are in the care of the Cremation Society of Chittenden County. To send online condolences to his family, please visit www.cremationsocietycc.com or send directly to: The Steve Wright Family, P.O. Box 81, Craftsbury Common, VT 05827. Donations in memory of Steve Wright can be made to Craftsbury Public Library, P.O. Box 74, Craftsbury Common, VT 05827; or to the Craftsbury Historical Society, P.O. Box 55, South Craftsbury Road, Craftsbury, VT 05826.

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