Joel Evans Wright, 68, of Bainbridge Island, Washington, passed away on Friday, December 20, 2019, in his home on Bainbridge Island, after a 13 year battle with blood cancers.
Joel was born in Youngstown, Ohio, to Eldon “Bud” Stearns Wright III and Beverly Jane Wright on February 27, 1951, and was the oldest of four children.
Joel graduated from Liberty High School Class of 1969 in Liberty Township (Youngstown, Ohio). He attended Ohio State University and graduated in 1974. Afterward, he worked a year as an insurance adjuster before attending law school at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. He was awarded his J.D. summa cum laude from Gonzaga in 1978. Upon graduation, Joel began practicing law at Lee Smart, P.S., Inc. in downtown Seattle. Joel practiced law for over 37 years, was a significant shareholder, partner, and past president at Lee Smart. He was an “A.V.” rated lawyer from Martindale Hubbell and listed in Best Lawyers in America. He was a member of the American Bar Association, Washington State Bar Association, Washington Defense Counsel Association, and the Defense Research Institute. Joel’s practice was primarily but not limited to legal malpractice, medical malpractice, and the defense of other professionals such as accountants and real estate agents.
Joel was married to Kari Spencer Wright for 31 years and had two sons, Evan Dylan Wright (29) and Mac Eldon Wright (27). In his free time Joel enjoyed: spending time with family, boating, river rafting, traveling, golfing, skiing, handball, and beating everyone at Cribbage. Joel would continue to do those things he loved well over a decade after his initial diagnosis and for that we will be forever grateful to Dr. Kaplan and his team at the Swedish Oncology Center for their outstanding care. Although cancer was a big part of Joel’s last years, he was never defined by his illness. Joel was a byword for determination, stubbornness, and unwillingness to accept defeat in all he did.
Joel is survived by his wife Kari and sons Evan (fiancée Megan Nakata) and Mac, all from Bainbridge Island, Washington; his sister Susan Cwik (husband James Cwik) and brother Robert Eldon Wright (wife Jenny Meyer Wright) both from Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania; sister Martha Gustafson (husband Mark Gustafson) of West Hartford, Connecticut. His parents, Beverly and Eldon, preceded him in death.
A Memorial service will be on January 11, 2020, at 1:30 P.M. at the Grace Episcopal Church, 8595 East Day Road, Bainbridge Island, WA with reception following at Wing Point Golf & Country Club, 811 Cherry Avenue, Bainbridge Island, WA.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made in memory of Joel E. Wright to https://give.swedishfoundation.org/kaplan-cancer-research-fund