Remembering Liz Wright

Updated: Jul 23


Elizabeth (Liz) Wright came to Chautauqua every summer for over a decade. She enjoyed her week here so very much that we (her sister Nancy Ackley and her brother in law Curt Ackley) gave her a second week for Christmas each year for a number of years. For the 2020 season, she was offered the chance to join Curt in a position cleaning the opera house. For a year she was counting down the days to a full summer on grounds.

Liz was diagnosed with Covid on June 8 of 2020. She was sent home with a case that did not appear to be serious, and she was primarily upset that the diagnosis would prevent her from continuing the huge volume of volunteer work that she did feeding the hungry and indigent of Green Valley Arizona through her church's food bank and working as a volunteer in a large thrift store. She stayed home tightly quarantined.

On June 25 she didn’t answer her phone. Nancy found her at home, comatose; Liz was taken to a hospital in Tucson. Effective means of treating the disease had not been discovered yet. Her organs shut down, and two days later, June 27, 2020 she died of Covid, one of the earliest deaths from it in Green Valley.

She loved Chautauqua and those she met here; it was a "thin place" for her, where the Spirit was alive. She was known for her winning smile and persistent humor. In her career as a well-regarded school psychologist she devoted herself to her students and their families; the schools of northeast Ohio sought her out because of her great gifts even after her retirement.

Her death, ironically one day before the scheduled start of the 2020 Chautauqua season, was poignant. Yet even in death she continued her outreach for others. She left the proceeds of the sale her only asset, her home, to the Sahuarita Food Bank and the Good Shepherd United Church of Christ.

With the hungry cared for and her church home remembered, her house sold and her Arizona time at an end, we believe she now rests peacefully here at Chautauqua. Curt and Nancy are hosting at the Reformed Church House for the first half of the season. Room 2, overlooking Bestor Plaza, was her home. Her Spirit is alive and well in this space, though it is hard to imagine that she won’t be coming down the stairs as she would begin each day, grateful for every thing and every one.

Rest well, Liz. May the Spirit breathe for you, even as you felt the burden of breathing in your last hours with us.

Curt and Nancy Ackley

updated July 23, 2021

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