Philip N. Wright, Jr. |

Philip N. Wright, Jr.

Philip N. Wright, Jr., of Aspen and Livingston, Mont., died at home on Nov. 11. He was 78 years old.

Wright was born July 11, 1924, in Grosse Point, Mich., the son of Philip N. and Grace (Hinchman) Wright. He spent his early life and attended schools there and, for a brief time, attended Trinity College in Connecticut.

He then enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, and served with the 36 Fighter Group as a pilot of a P47 Thunderbolt in the European Theater of Operations. He was shot down during his 60th mission and was interned as a prisoner at Stalag V11A throughout the remainder of the war.

In 1949, Wright married Joan Trumbull and made their home in Aspen, where they owned and operated The Aspen Country Store. In 1972, after losing their second son, Chapin, they moved to Wise River, Mont., and founded the Complete Fly Fisher, a fishing resort along the Big Hole River. His guided boat trips and Joan’s gourmet cooking made them legendary.

In 1984, the Wrights retired to Livingston to their treasured home along the banks of the Yellowstone River. Wright continued his interest in fly fishing with the invention of a new ergonomic rod grip and enjoyed swapping stories about fly fishing, tennis and the armed forces.

He was preceded in death by his second son, Chapin; his oldest son, Jonathan, in 1980; and his wife, Joan, in 2000. Survivors include his daughter, Jennifer Watanabe and her husband Kojo of Osaka, Japan; son Philip Wright III of Aspen; his daughter-in-law Geri Wright of Aspen; granddaughters Asia, Kristin and Neomi; and his sister, Eugenie Armstrong of Houston, Texas.

A spring memorial service is being planned for Phil and Joan.

If so desired, memorials can be directed to the Philip N. Wright, Jr. Fund at American Bank, P.O. Box 2290, Livingston, MT 59047. All funds will be used for the National Federation of Fly Fishers facilities.

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