Bertha Lydia Keplinger Wright, 86, of East New Market, Maryland, died suddenly on Sunday, March 16, 2008, from injuries suffered in an automobile accident as she was leaving Palm Sunday service at her church.
Born January 30, 1922, in Cambridge, Maryland, she was the eldest child of John and Lydia Scherch Keplinger. She attended Peachblossom Elementary School and Cambridge High School, graduating in 1939. She started nurse’s training classes in Easton, Maryland, before moving to Washington, D. C.
In 1942 she married Thomas H. Wright, Sr. to whom she was married for twenty-nine years and with whom she had six children.
She was an active mother, Cub Scout den mother, accomplished seamstress, baker, vocalist, and artist in oils.
Over the years, Bertha helped to organize and promote the Dorchester League of Women voters; she ran for Dorchester County Council; she owned and operated the H & R Block franchise in Cambridge for many years. She worked as an independent bookkeeper for several companies, including the Cambridge Recreation Center. At the age of 78, Bertha applied for and was hired as a security guard, a post she held for several weeks. She was very proud of having recently completed a correspondence course in bookkeeping; she also recently took lessons in watercolor painting.
Bertha was a current and longtime member of the Chorus of Dorchester and was recognized as having a stellar record of attendance at rehearsals, where she was also well known for her colorful hats.
A lifelong member of Immanuel United Church of Christ in Cambridge, Bertha sang in the choir, taught Sunday school, presided over the Women’s Guild, and served as substitute organist and church secretary. Her attendance at Sunday school and church services, along with her many contributions to the life of the church, were among her greatest pleasures.
Additionally, Bertha enjoyed her friends, especially those members of her high school class who met yearly, and her book discussions at the Federalsburg Library. She was an avid reader and completed several crossword puzzles daily.
Surviving are her six children: Thomas H. Wright, Jr., and his wife Carole, of Hurlock; John R, “Jack” Wright and his wife Qiu Xiang Chen of Salisbury; Karen E. Rayne and her husband Michael of Salisbury; Gloria J. Wright of Wilmington, N.C.; Steve A. Wright and his wife Wanda of Tallahassee, FL; and Richard M. Wright of Burlington, VT. She is also survived by twenty grandchildren, many great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild, many nieces and nephews, and many others who loved her and whom she loved.
Also surviving are her sisters Martha Malkus of Cambridge, Joyce Mueller of Harmony, Zelma Butt of Baltimore, and Ruth Galbraith of Oxnard, CA, and her brother John Keplinger, Jr., of Cambridge.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her sisters Iris Fluharty and Gloria Langrall.
A celebration of Bertha’s life, followed by a light lunch, will be held at noon on Saturday, March 22 at Immanuel United Church of Christ, at the corner of Rt. 50 and Whitehall Road, east of Cambridge. Family will receive friends from 11 to 12.
Contributions in her memory may be made to Immanuel United Church of Christ, 5401 Whitehall Road, Cambridge, MD, 21613.
Cremation services have been handled by Mid-Shore Cremation Center.