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National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Division Chief
Age: 79
Year of Death: 2021

William “Bill” Wright

Bill was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to Leland and Annie Wright. He was the youngest of three brothers and was harassed by both Douglas and Robert, which helped him develop his tough, can-do attitude that saw him through his 79 years on this earth. Once married, he moved his growing family all over the country following “the jobs” as a journeyman electrician and lifelong IBEW member.

Bill and his wife, Margaret, landed in north Idaho and finally found the place where they could settle down in the backwoods of Athol. He was a fierce protector and provider for his children.

His children—daughter, Angela, and husband, David Riggsby, of Buckley, Washington; son, Mike (deceased); daughter, Stacie, and husband, Al Ramsay, of Athol, Idaho; and son, Benjamin (deceased)—love him beyond measure. When he became a grandparent, he was renamed “Papaw” and is loved and adored by his grandchildren, Matthew (deceased), Michael (Aubree), Jonathon (Abbie), Natalie (Candice), Caitlin (Dustin), Jordan, Mark (Justina), Mariah, Tanner, Hannah (Nick), Mikayla (Preston), Weston, Britain, Cheyenne, and Nea; and 26 great-grandchildren.

Margaret was the love of his life. When she passed away, he focused his full attention on the second love of his life, the fire service. He started as a volunteer firefighter, then added EMT and inadvertently worked his way up to division chief. Bill was a humble, kind, and giving servant in the community, both in and out of the fire department. He could always be counted on to respond, at all hours of the day or night, except on Sunday while he attended the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints meetings and on Wednesday mornings when he went to the Spokane Washington Temple. His religious beliefs, high moral and ethical standards, abounding faith, and confidence in the power of prayer were the standards by which he lived his life.

He believed in God, family, and country. He deeply understood the Constitution and Bill of Rights and the freedoms they line out. He was not afraid to share his views. He felt everyone needed to laugh, every day, of which he was a great example. He welcomed people into his tribe, into his family, and treated them as one of his own for as long as they wanted to stay. His example, service, compassion, and influence are spread far and wide, although he wouldn’t have acknowledged he did much to deserve any recognition. Bill was the greatest example of what a first responder should be. Both daughters, a son, son-in-law, and eight of his grandchildren have served or still serve as first responders. We know he and Matthew, who we also lost in 2021 (LODD), are riding along with those in our family who still serve.

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