Petersburg Pilot -

Whale Watching and LeConte Glacier Tours based out of Petersburg Alaska

Obituary, Alvara Mary Wright, 89


Alvara Mary Wright

Alvara Mary Wright was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, on June 8, 1925, to Edward and Eleanor Casper.

Her insatiable appetite for reading bloomed as a young child and grew as she attended Catholic school in Sheboygan through high school.

After high school, Vara moved to New York to study dance. Eventually, she moved back to Madison, Wisconsin, where she studied drama. She met Syd Wright when they were performing in the same production. Syd and Vara were married in 1952. They moved to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where the first four of their children were born.

In the summer of 1963, with Vara 8 months pregnant with their 5th child, they moved to Hoonah, a small Tlingit village in Southeast Alaska. Shortly after arriving in Hoonah, Vara gave birth to Matthew. Because the planes weren't flying, Matt was delivered at home by a native midwife.

From Hoonah they moved to Glennallen, AK, where Vara began her career in teaching dance. In 1969 they moved to Petersburg, AK. This is where Vara became very involved in teaching dance, and doing choreography and costuming for the Shakespearian plays directed by her husband, Syd and the high school


In 1980, Vara, along with Sandy Slack, founded the Mitkof Mummers, the local theater group. She adapted, wrote, and directed the plays that the Mummers performed over the years. She created characters on stage that made people laugh and forget, at least for a couple of hours, their lives outside. Vara was also a performer and enjoyed entertaining

audiences (whether on cruise ships, on the stage of the Wright Auditorium, or in the halls of the Long Term Care Unit) with some of the different characters that she created. Vara also adapted children's fairy tales that were performed every fall for many years by the children's theatre, Magic Moments. She had the wonderful knack of bringing out the actor in any who joined her productions. Plays are still performed every year in the Wright Auditorium at Petersburg High School.

Every summer during their retirement years, Syd and Vara ran a charter business from their commercial fishing vessel, The Chan IV. They took passengers to see the local sights. Vara prepared and served a bounty of seafood, to the delight of their passengers.

In October, 2009, she moved to Mountain Meadows in Leavenworth, Washington, where she came to love the staff and residents as her second family.

She left us to go dancing in Heaven on January 1st, 2015, surrounded by her family.

She was preceded in death by her sister Mina, her sons Lee Stewart Wright and Peter Brian Wright and her husband Syd Wright.

She is survived by her brother, Harold Casper; her children, Carrie Jones (and husband Dale), Andy Wright, Matthew Wright (and wife Sue); her grandchildren - Charlie Smith, Cindi Addleman, Mike Wright, Kayla Popp, Nick Wright and Jeremy Wright; and her great grandchildren – Ella Addleman, Drew Beavers, and Sydney Popp.

There will be a memorial gathering in

Petersburg this spring.


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