Former teacher who served in World War Two dies aged 98

PUBLISHED: 06:55 20 June 2020

Ronald Wright died aged 98. Picture: Mary Ratcliffe

Ronald Wright died aged 98. Picture: Mary Ratcliffe

Archant

A former Clevedon teacher who served in World War II has died at the age of 98.

Ronald Wright died on May 2.

Following school and a brief clerical job, he joined the RAF as a ground crew radio operator in World War II, serving in the Middle East and Iraq.

Afterwards he trained as a teacher, pursuing what was to become a lifelong ambition to further his education, which had prematurely ended at age 16.

In one of his teaching positions, he met his future wife Anne, also a teacher, and they married in 1952.

After working at a school in the Isles of Scilly, they settled in Clevedon, where Ron taught at St John’s Primary School before becoming deputy head and then head of Highdale Junior School.

Ron retired at the age of 60, and, during this time, he passed a couple of A-levels, produced hundreds of works of art, wrote poetry, learned the clarinet and the flute and read extensively – not only in English but also in French and German.

He also worked as a tutor at St Brandon’s School, was a regular summer swimmer at Clevedon beach and became a member of the Bickley Painters, a small group of artists whose influence can be seen in Ron’s later paintings.

Several years of Ron’s retirement were devoted to caring for Anne when her health deteriorated, until, at the age of 89, he was physically unable to meet the challenge.

Ron’s daughter, Mary Ratcliffe, said: “Born in the Potteries as the fourth of five surviving children, Ron had the easy good nature of those born into large families.

“At the age of 90, Ron had held a memorable party for the people who he thought might attend his funeral, on the grounds that, if it was really his funeral, he wouldn’t have the pleasure of their company.

“Given the current restrictions, it is perhaps just as well we were all able to gather then.

“Nevertheless, a celebration of his life will be held when this is again possible.

“Fairness, a quality which he had admired in his own father, was a key element of Ron’s character.

“He was also intensely loyal to his family, his friends and not least, to his principles.”

Ron is survived by Mary, Andrew and Jonathan, by his eight grandchildren, and by five great-grandchildren.


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