Nominated in 2015.Robert Wright was a member of one of the early families of Berlin, the first one arriving here in 1853. Through all the generations the Wrights held a keen interest in community and worked for its betterment. Robert, of the fourth generation, was no different. After graduating from Berlin High School in 1920, he spent about two years at Beloit College and then went to work for Blair & Co. of Chicago, (an investment company) from 1925 to 1929 until the stock market crashed. In 1930, he and his father, Fred W. Wright started the Berlin Finance Co. He remained with this company until 1944 when it was liquidated.
He was then named President of the First National Bank of Berlin and remained in that position until his death in 1969. The bank enjoyed steady growth under his leadership. In 1952 he was one of a group of community-minded local investors who formed the Berlin Industrial Development Corporation. This corporation was responsible for bringing several businesses to Berlin, increasing job opportunities for the area.
In his 25 years as President and Chairman of the Board of the First National Bank, he worked tirelessly to encourage businesses to locate to Berlin sometimes using money from his own pocket. Many unsecured loans in those days were made on good faith and Bob’s belief in each person’s ability. Only after his death did people learn of some of his philanthropic deeds. He took it upon himself to mentor young people who showed promise and drive, writing letters of recommendation and helping them find their path. He was said to be as much a friend to the janitor as he was to CEOs of large corporations.
The first Wrights developed a slogan: ‘Wright wrongs no man’ and each succeeding generation lives by that creed. Pearls of wisdom he liked to share with his family and others: It’s OK to make a mistake……just don’t make the same mistake twice. And ‘Say hello to everyone and remember their name.