BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — In 2004, a legend in the Bloomington gymnastics community was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Paul Wright succumbed to that fight earlier this week after seven years. Wright was a fixture at Bloomington Jefferson High School, where he and his wife coached the gymnastics team.
His team and his colleagues took time on Wednesday to remember the man who they said saw the good in everyone. He was a husband, a father, a teacher and a coach.
Paul Wright attended Bloomington Jefferson High School and eventually returned there as a teacher and gymnastics coach. He will be buried on Friday, and his friends and family reflected on Wright in his old classroom on Wednesday.
“The kids wanted to be around him, they wanted to be in his class. He taught elective psychology and so many kids signed up for the class. It was one of the most popular electives. Psychology is a great class, but he was a great teacher,” said Danny Sorlein.
As a coach, they rememeber he and his wife and co-coach Leslie Wright as the leaders of the program. Paul was remembered as the mentor there to encourage the athletes.
“After you had a bad routine, you would go out in the hall and still be mad. He would come out there and be like ‘This is what you need to fix. We can work on this together,'” said Jenna Mueller, a gymnast on the team. “Like he was always just really supportive and caring, and he just wanted to get to know you as a person, and he cared about what was going on outside of the gym.”
That’s what friends and family are remembering this week: The man who wanted them to succeed.
“I think this year is going to be a lot harder, just not seeing him come into the gym every day. But in a way it’s brought us all close together. I’m just going to miss his smile and all his pep talks and keep going,” Mueller said.
They are also reminded this week that Paul Wright taught them a lesson for how to live life.
“Enjoy life, and he did a great job of that. He was positive and upbeat and happy about everything all the time. He was amazing,” Sorlein said.
The services for Wright are being held this Friday in Rosemount, on the same day he would have turned 46 years old.