Ed Wright, longtime Central Kentucky Christian radio figure, dies at age 69

gkocher1@herald-leader.comSeptember 25, 2013 

Ed Wright, a longtime program director and general manager of Christian radio stations in Central Kentucky, died Sept. 24, 2013, at Thomson-Hood Veterans Center in Wilmore. He was 69.

Ed Wright, a longtime program director and general manager of Christian radio stations in Central Kentucky, died Tuesday at Baptist Health-Lexington. He was 69.

Over 35 years, Mr. Wright, an Army veteran, had been in various positions with Mortenson Broadcasting Co. of Lexington.

Benson Gregory, Lexington market manager for Christian Broadcasting System Ltd., which bought Mortenson in 2006, said Mr. Wright was "the iconic voice" of WJMM, a Christian radio station that began in 1973.

"He had a very comforting voice," Gregory said. "A lot of people wouldn't necessarily know him by name or by sight, but they would hear his voice and they would go 'Oh, him, right.'"

Helen "Len" Sorrell, the first general manager of WJMM, said she hired Mr. Wright as program director for the station. Later, when Sorrell went to Cincinnati and then returned to Lexington, she was hired by Mr. Wright as a sales representative.

"He was slow to anger, and he was fast with forgiveness," Sorrell said. "To me, he was a leader, in the truest sense of the word."

The CBSL stations include WJMM 99.1 FM, WCGW 770 Southern Gospel, and WLRT AM 1250, which airs Dave Ramsey, Laura Ingraham, Dennis Miller and others.

Mr. Wright retired in 2008.

Survivors include Mr. Wright's wife of 26 years, June Shepperson Wright; a daughter, Jill Wright Smith; and two grandchildren.

The Wrights were the subject of a "how they met" story in the Herald-Leader in 2000. Their first date was Oct. 24, 1986, when they went to see Dino Kartsonakis, a Christian concert pianist, at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington. On the way home, they were involved in a car accident. The car was totaled, and Shepperson ended up in the emergency room, where she had several stitches in an eyelid.

After emergency treatment and filling out reports, they went on to dinner. The next day, Mr. Wright asked Shepperson for a second date to redeem himself. During that week, with a black eye, stitches, bruises and soreness, they saw each other several times. By the end of the week, they were talking regularly on the telephone. By the end of the month, Shepperson was thinking, "Have I finally met Mr. Right?"

She left shortly after that on a Caribbean cruise with her sister and a friend. Anticipating how much she would miss Mr. Wright, Shepperson prepared a card to send him each day she was gone.

The first day on the ship, she found that Mr. Wright had done the same thing, giving cards to her sister to pass on to her.

Mr. Wright proposed in June 1987, and they were married Sept. 18, 1987, at First Baptist Church in Lexington.

Visitation for Mr. Wright will be 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Blackburn & Ward Funeral Home in Versailles. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the funeral home. Burial will be in Rose Crest Cemetery in Versailles.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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