Tribute to Gareth T. Wright

Gareth Wright posing with his lead dog after winning the 1950 ONAC.

Mushing legend, Gareth Thomas Wright, passed on October 14, 2019 in Fairbanks, Alaska..

Gareth was born in Nenana, Alaska on October 16, 1928 to the late Arthur and Myrtle (Rose) Wright.  He spent his early childhood in Minto, where his father served as the Episcopal minister. When Gareth was six years old, the family returned to Nenana where his mother served as a missionary nurse at St. Marks Mission.

Gareth had many interests and was blessed with an inquisitive spirit from a young age that exposed him to the love of music, a variety of foods, world travel, animals, and the world of business intrigue.   However, Gareth was most comfortable sharing the beauty of nature with his family,   

Gareth began his first business partnership at the age of 13 with an ice cream stand in Nenana. This early experience led to the establishment of family owned construction companies with his brothers, wife, and daughters involving major airports, road projects throughout Alaska, to land development, such as Chena Marina Subdivision. In construction, he hired, trained, and encouraged many people to work hard and succeed.  Many worked with him year after year as seasonal workers as he treated his employees with respect and trust. The seasonality of this work allowed Gareth to focus on his interest in sled dogs.

At the age of 13, Gareth got his first sled dog that led to his passion for breeding and development of the racing, “Aurora Husky”   Gareth was one of the most influential dog breeders and his bloodline, created a cornerstone of the modern racing sled dog that most mushers enjoy today.  Gareth was a competitive musher who won both major Alaskan sprint sled dog races, the North American Championship twice, and the Fur Rendezvous World Championship three times and numerous other races. His racing career spanned six decades of competitive racing, beginning in the 1940’s and culminating in winning the Tok Race of Championship in 1990. His contributions to sled dog racing included helping to found the  the Alaska Dog Mushers Association, and the Alaskan Sled  Dog Racing Association, and starting races in both Soldotna and Tok.

His love of people resulted in mentoring many people both in and outside the construction and dog racing world.  But above all else was the devotion and love he had for his family especially his wife Miranda. Together they built a home filled with love, family and a swimming pool. They filled the role of grandparents and great grandparents  with an abundance of pride and love for each member of their large extended family.

Gareth was a devoted husband and father and leaves behind his wife of 52 years, Miranda (Hildebrand), daughters Sandy Creamer (D.G.), Roxy Wright Freedle (Dave), Lynette Holt (Dave), and Shannon Erhart, special son Bruce Garey, and brothers Al and Jules Wright. Grandchildren: Leif Abel, Gloria Lannen, Tim O’Conner, Ramy Books, Tammy Holland, Jonathan (Jay) Hughes, Colette Howard, Carey Erhart, Lester and Gareth Erhart, Great Grandchildren: Dawson Abel, Brittany Wheelock, Grant and Dana Lannen, Rauri and Quinn O’Conner, Abby Goodwin, Molly and Wyatt Brooks, Michael and Nick Holland, Desirae McCarthy, Felixia Breese, Cayden and Kinlee Roberts, Casey and Anderson Erhart, and several great-great grandchildren.  He was known as Super Papa by his numerous great and great-great grandchildren.

Wright is predeceased by his parents and Brothers Arthur Eugene, Donald, Lawrence, Forrest, and grandson Todd Hughes.