Master Chief Petty Officer Benjamin Louis Wright, born March 2, 1926, took his peaceful journey to our Lord and Savior on September 14, 2022. Benjamin’s family and loved ones celebrate his 96 years of life—a life full of experiences and lessons, love, family, service and exploring the world. Benjamin will continue to be a cherished son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, cousin, friend storyteller, adventurous spirit, and child of God.
Born to Willie E. and Katie Smith Wright in Richmond, Virginia, Benjamin was the fifth of eight siblings and spent his youth living on the Southside of Richmond and attended Richmond City Public Schools. While a student at Maggie L. Walker High school, Benjamin was a member of the Varsity Football team and became a licensed and working barber. He received his GED Certificate, and then, with his mother’s blessings and signature, he volunteered to become a member of the United States Navy in February 1944 at the age of 17. Benjamin served 31 ½ years as Ship Serviceman in charge of Ship Stores Afloat for the Pacific and Atlantic Naval Fleets and retired from the Naval Resale Systems after 25 years. He served in World War II, Korean and Vietnam Wars, joining a rare list of veterans whose service expanded over all three of these major conflicts. Benjamin also served in the Gulf War and Cuban Missile Crisis.
On Christmas Day 1949, Benjamin married the love of his life, Sarah Rebecca Briggman at Leigh Street Methodist Church in Richmond, Virginia. Three children were born from this union, all while Benjamin and Sarah navigated life as a Black Navy family moving around the United States and the world. One of his most memorable places to be stationed was Yokosuka, Japan from 1955 to 1957. Benjamin, Sarah, and their children eventually settled in Virginia Beach, VA where Benjamin developed meaningful connections with others. He went on to take the pledge of brotherly love, faith, and charity as a dedicated member of the Ruth Masonic Lodge #92 Free and Accepted Masons in Virginia Beach. Benjamin and his beloved Sarah shared 70 years of marriage and a passion for travel spending many years journeying in an RV on U. S. highways and byways with their children and grandchildren in tow. On the road, they saw historic sited and gathered with kindred travelers. Benjamin and Sarah were devout members of several camping and recreational clubs, including Good Sam Camping Club.
Benjamin treasured spending quality time with family. He shared stories, thoughts and emotions with honesty, wit, and generosity. He expressed gratitude openly and his smile, big heart and strong presence will be missed. Benjamin, also known affectionately as Chief, Ben, Daddy, Pops, Grandpa, will continue to inspire all who loved him by his journey, life and legacy.
Benjamin Louis Wright was preceded in death by his parents—Willie E. and Katie Smith Wright; his wife--Sarah Rebecca Briggman Wright; and his siblings—Florence Branch, Earl Wright, Franklin Wright, Alease Wright, Helen McCullough, Leon Wright, Sr., and Grace Taylor.
Benjamin leaves to cherish his memory, his children—Benjamin L. Wright, Jr. (Wanda), Stephanie Wright Jones and Michelle R, Wright; grandchildren—Demetrious Jamal Jones, DeeArah Wright Wiley (Stephen), Kaleeta Wright McDade (Richard); Benjamin L. Wright III, Tandra Roberson (Dave), and Dr. Chastity Shipp; great grandchildren—Faithlyn Quinones, Naomi Fraser Jones, Dahlia Jemmott-Wiley, Savion Wright Wiley, Zora McDade, Harlem McDade, and Jayden Brent Wright; and a plethora of relatives and dear friends.
In lieu of flowers, it is requested that donations be made to: Ruth Masonic Lodge #92, Free and Accepted Masons Scholarship Fund, P. O. Box 10073, Virginia Beach, VA 23450