Cover photo for James Phillip Wright's Obituary
James Phillip Wright Profile Photo

James Phillip Wright

March 8, 1944 — January 6, 2024

James Phillip Wright

James Phillip Wright passed away unexpectedly in the early hours of January 6, 2024, age 79.  "Doc Wright's" sage advice to all was, "Do what you love for life, and you won't work a day in your life." He lived it, loved it, every day until the absolute end.  He was a compassionate Veterinarian, a passionate horseman, and spent every chance he could horseback trail riding with friends and as a member of the Pikes Peak Range Riders.  In earlier decades Doc Wright was a respected and well-known horse judge in competitive trail riding throughout the Midwest and he was associated with the Missouri Trail Ride Association.  He also trained and showed horses, played cowboy polo, and even rodeoed some over the years. 

Jim was a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA.)  As a classic old school animal doctor, Doc Wright treated all types and sizes of animals around the clock, 7 days a week and covered at least 100,000 miles/year, for 65 years, driving throughout the Midwest and then his beloved Rocky Mountains.  His daughters' earliest memories include him resuscitating a dog mouth-to-mouth, treating a sick circus camel, laying in a pond pulling a calf-- always flying down the road on emergencies to save an animal, and perhaps bringing home zucchini or chicken eggs for paid services. The saved blind calf with two broken front legs was a challenge to feed, but was a contented family pet for many years.

He was "Cowboy Jim" to his grandchildren in his signature cowboy hats, boots and western belt buckle, and introduced them to western heritage, horses and music.  He carried a wrinkled autograph from John Wayne in his wallet and spent his time teaching them to "cowboy up" in all things.  He was old fashioned, one-of-a-kind, part of a dying breed, and a proud American.

Jim's childhood in Bakersfield CA is where he developed his early love of animals, horses, cowboys, nature, and the mountains.  His high school career began in Grandview MO where he was a Letterman, vice president of the Science Club, and was successful in track, and the starting tight end on the 1961 Missouri State Champion Bulldogs football team.  He graduated

In memory and honor of Jim, donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Pikes Peak Range Rider Foundation.  P.O. Box 758, Colorado Springs, CO 80901-758, or www.pprrfoundation.wildapricot.org. Jim was proud to be a member of this outstanding group of professionals and horsemen upholding The Cowboy Way, dedicated to retaining western cultural heritage.  The annual ride was his favorite time of the year, being a cowboy.  The Foundation owns and operates the Latigo Trails Equestrian Center hosting equestrian activities year-round and focuses on youth events and activities that have a western, agricultural, and equine orientation. 

A Celebration of Life is tentatively planned for Summer 2024 in Colorado.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Phillip Wright, please visit our flower store.

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