Joseph Luke 'Joe' Wright

Memorial services for Joseph Luke "Joe" Wright will be held at 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 17, at the First Baptist Church.

Joe was born Feb. 2, 1928, to Salvatore and Gertrude Wright in Weirton, W.V. He passed away peacefully at Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango surrounded by the love of his daughter, Emily Joan and his son-in-law, Robert on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. Joe was the father of five living children.

Joe married his first wife, Marcelene Lawrence in Dalton, Ga. on March 2, 1946. He apprenticed to be a brick/stonemason in the steel mills of Weirton for three years before they moved to the Four Corners area in 1952. For many years the couple managed trading posts on the Navajo and Ute Mountain Reservations.

After graduating from police training in Denver, Joe then worked as a police officer for the City of Cortez. Later, he became a probation officer in Towaoc and then Joe had the honor of being the first Anglo chief of police in Towaoc.

Over the years, Joe continued to utilize his great mason skills as they were needed in the Four Corners area and he will long be remembered for them as he was the only mason in Cortez for many years. He never met a stranger and loved talking to people over a cup of coffee, regardless of their status in life. Joe enjoyed getting to know new people as he worked, and most of these people became his friend for life. Joe took great pride in his skilled work and was always willing to help others. One of his early mason projects was the beautiful large stone fireplace that he built alone in the cold winter of 1954 at Stoner, Colo.

Joe and Marcelene were the parents of five children, four who are now living. They are Darlene Wright Nidever and husband Charlie, Luke Wright, Joe Paul Wright, all of Phoenix, Ariz., and Emily Joan Wright Sanchez and husband Robert of Westminster, Calif. Joe and Marcelene divorced in 1982 after 36 years of marriage and later he and Vangie Jumbo of Round Rock, Ariz. became the parents of his fifth child, a daughter, Josephine Wright of Cortez. Joe is survived by his wife of seven years, Ruth Husky of Teec Nos Pos, Ariz.; his five children; his former wife, Marcelene (Wright) Hagen of Phoenix; his beloved brother-in-law, Albert Kukulski of Gold Canyon, Ariz.; seven nieces and nephews; a daughter-in-law, Debbie Wright of Cortez; 13 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; his greatly loved dog, Fritz; as well as his world of dear friends.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers, Sal, Ray and Phillip; one sister, Mary; infant daughter, Cheryl; and his dear sister-in-law, Patricia Kukulski.

Arrangements are being made through Ertel Funeral Home. For further information or to send condolences, log on to and click on the obituary section.