Leland Van Dyke “Lee” Wright
Feb. 10, 1934 – May 17, 2019
Leland Van Dyke “Lee” Wright, 85, died May 17, 2019, at the Seward Memorial Hospital in Seward. Lee was born Feb. 10, 1934, to Herman J. and Gladys (Van Dyke) Wright in Shelton. Lee moved to Hastings with his family at age 5. The day after graduation from Hastings High in 1951, Lee joined the military.
Lee served in the Navy as gunner’s mate on the USS Duncan for four years of active combat during the Korean War. Lee was honorably discharged on Feb. 3, 1955, at which time he returned to Hastings and met the love of his life, Wanda Burge. Lee and Wanda were married Nov. 22, 1955, and moved to Lincoln. While in Lincoln, among other jobs, Lee worked as a guard at the Nebraska State Penitentiary for four years.
In 1961, Lee and Wanda and their three children moved to Blue Hill, where they spent the next 55 years. For 20 of those years, Lee owned Lee’s Conoco. He also worked as a car salesman for Burge and Sons Motors and drove a school bus. His final career in Blue Hill before his retirement on Feb. 26, 1999, was the 15 years as a Rural Carrier for the United States Postal Service.
After several years of enjoying retirement with trips to the casino and to visit children, Lee and Wanda moved to Waco to live with their oldest son, Mike, and his wife, Angie, in 2016. Lee had some health issues causing him to require nursing home care during the summer of 2017, and he spent the last several years at Ridgewood Rehabilitation and Care Center in Seward.
Lee was preceded in death by his parents, Herman J. and Gladys (Van Dyke) Wright; his sister, Sarah Dragoo; brother-in-law, Richard Dragoo; and daughter, Rhonda (Wright) Cox.
He is survived by his wife, Wanda (Burge) Wright of Waco; son, Mike (Angie) Wright of Waco; son, Rod (Bev) Wright of Chappell; son-in-law, Steve Cox of Hastings; 11 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
A celebration of Lee’s life will be from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, at the Blue Hill Community Center in Blue Hill. Memorial contributions may be sent to the Wounded Warrior Project or the Josie Harper Hospice house in Omaha. There will be no viewing or visitation, as his wishes were to be cremated. A private family burial will be in the Blue Hill Cemetery, with military rites conducted by A.L. Shirley Post 176 and the Navy Funeral Honors Team. Condolences may be sent to the family through Merten-Butler Mortuary of Blue Hill.