Margaret Wright’s dream in life was to be an educator.

“I think she did (become an educator), but not the way she intended,” said her son, James Wright.

Mrs. Wright had a desire to be an English teacher, but she spent most of her career working in the field of special education.

“She had a talent for reaching the kids,” her son said. “That type of work suited her.”

Mrs. Wright, a resident of South Portland, died Monday. She was 65.

Mrs. Wright grew up as part of a military family. Her son said she was an “Army brat” who lived in many places around the country and abroad.

The time she spent in Germany stuck with her throughout life, her son said, because she still remembered phrases in German.

“She’d talk in German to me sometimes,” he said, especially when she could remember “disciplinary phrases.”

Mrs. Wright was a graduate of Cape Elizabeth High School and went on to earn a master’s degree in special education from the University of Southern Maine.

When her children were growing up, Mrs. Wright worked as a substitute teacher in South Portland and Westbrook. She also taught an eighth-grade class at Westbrook Middle School.

At a young age, her children learned to read and write. “She raised two pretty good students,” her son said.

Her son graduated from University of Maine, and her daughter, Rebecca Wheeler, is a graduate of USM.

“She was pretty proud” that both of her children graduated from college, James Wright said.

When she wasn’t at work, Mrs. Wright enjoyed various crafts, her daughter said. Whether it was quilting, stained glass or basketry, Wheeler said, “she loved being creative with her hands.”

Mrs. Wright retired two years ago from her position as special education director at the Long Creek Youth Development Center. While she didn’t talk much about her work, her son said she probably made a difference in many of the students’ lives.

“She believed in some of (those kids). I think she derived satisfaction out of (working with them),” her son said.

Her grandchildren, Alice, 8, and Henry, 5, became the focus of her life in recent years. “That was her joy,” her daughter said of the time Mrs. Wright spent with her grandchildren.

A few weeks ago, Wheeler asked her mother for some words of advice that she could pass on to Alice and Henry.

“She said you can never love anyone too much and that she read somewhere that ‘nice works.’ I thought that was pretty perfect,” her daughter said.

“She had given me so many great words of advice herself, I asked for something special for her grandchildren as they grow up in life,” she said.

 

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at: [email protected]