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Debra Jo (Wilkins) Wright

Posted 2023-05-17 by Sharla
The Wickenburg Sun, Wickenburg, AZ
Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Debra Jo Wright
July 25, 1956 - May 5, 2023

Debra Jo Wright, of Wickenburg Arizona, passed away at home, May 5, 2023. Born July 25, 1956, in Prescott, Arizona to George and Vivian Wilkins. Wickenburg became home for the Wilkins family in 1962, the same year she entered 1st grade at Maclennan Elementary. It was here where she was assigned the nickname ‘Debbie Jo’ which she was most known.

After graduation from Wickenburg High School (1974), she attended Yavapai College where she graduated 3rd in her class with a degree in Nursing (1976). She returned to her hometown and worked at the local Community Hospital per terms of one of the scholarships she received. At that time, her goal was to learn a second language so she could join the Peace Corps and pursue her dreams, but it was here where she met and later married Doctor Morton S. Thomas.

During their marriage, she devoted her time to raising their four children. Years later and following a divorce, Debbie Jo returned to nursing, taking over as Director of Nursing at the Wickenburg Nursing Home. As Director, she had a tremendous positive impact in the lives of the patients and their families, her staff, and the community as a whole. But she never let go of her aspirations to further her education so she returned to school, earning her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from University of Phoenix (1999)--to which she noted, a ‘wonderful moment’. It was also during this time that she reunited and married her true love, Paul Wright Jr., (1992), also of Wickenburg. Together they enjoyed 31 years of marriage, having just celebrated their anniversary last month.

Debbie Jo's favorite pastime of all time had to be fishing. It began with her grandpa from the shoreline and went all the way to competing on the local circuit. Together with Paul, she became a fierce and accomplished angler winning top awards as, 1st place Non-Boater in the Arizona Bass Federation (2001), Allstar Bass Couple—Angler of the Year (2003) and many top 10 finishes in tournaments throughout Arizona. She fished right up until she physically couldn’t.

The things Debbie Jo held closest to her heart were her family, faith, and her connection to nature. She stated her greatest joy in life came from her children and grandchildren whom she was known as Mahi. Her ideal evening was one spent at home with Paul, listening to Merle Haggard. During her life she knew great loss and found strength in her connection to the desert and God’s promise. She wrote that she felt cheated if she missed a sunrise or sunset. Was known to enjoy them alone, feeling closer to God and her son Jake who passed just before his 18th birthday. There really wasn’t anything that some time in the desert couldn’t make better for her.

Debra Jo Wright is survived by her husband, Paul Wright Jr.; her children, Cody (Wright) Waddell, Morton (Jonny) Thomas IV, July (Thomas) and John Hogue, Jaimie (Thomas) and Matt Melilli; mother Vivian Wilkins, sisters Stefanie (Wilkins) Kirkendall, and Kimberly (Mallicoat) Wilkins; and grandchildren, Hunter Waddell, Monte Hogue, Dylan Waddell, Dusty Waddell, Jane Hogue, Benjamin Hogue and Isla Melilli. She is preceded in death by her father, George Wilkins Sr.; sister Rebecca (Wilkins) Norris; brother George Wilkins, Jr.; and two sons, unnamed baby Thomas and Benjamin Jake Thomas.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, May 20, at 10 a.m. at the Wickenburg Funeral Home. May she rest in peace and comfort, reunited with those she has mourned.

See Also: Find A Grave

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