Eric Wright, minister of music at Mt. Zion Oakwood Village, grew up making music with the Wright Family Singers, led by his mother, internationally known gospel singer Willie Mae Wright.
He also participated in the choir and played drums, bass, piano and organ at Greater Metropolitan Church in Cleveland, where his late father, Willie J., was pastor.
The Cleveland Heights resident died June 3 at age 46 as the result of a motorcycle accident in Cleveland, his family said.
“Eric was born a gifted child,” his sister Sandra said. “He never formally studied music. He played by ear. Little commercials he would hear, he’d try to find the tune on the piano.”
His gift, along with his reputation as a top-notch musician, developed.
“Then he discovered his voice,” his sister said. “He had a very melodic voice.”
As a student at , Wright performed with the Heights High Gospel Choir, Men’s Chorus, Heights Singers and Jazz Band.
After graduating from Heights High, he studied at Ashland Seminary and became a minister. He served as minister of music for various churches and organizations.
Wright played organ and/or sang at churches, funerals, weddings, choir concerts and other venues and events throughout Northeast Ohio. He also worked with youth choirs and conducted music workshops.
In 1994, the Wright Family Singers performed for President Bill Clinton at the White House.
Wright also played secular music. In 1999, he and his band, Eric Wright and Friends, opened for Foreigner at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, his sister said.
He also sat in as a guest musician with local jazz groups.
Survivors include his wife, Sheritha Curry-Wright; children, Eriq and Kyra; his mother, Willie Mae; siblings, Sandra, Willie Wright Jr., Beverly, Toyia and Millette; and grandmother, Callie Gilchrist.
Wright’s father died in 1998, his sister said.
Services will take place at 6 p.m. Friday at Mt. Zion of Oakwood Village, One Mt. Zion Circle, Oakwood.
Arrangements by Taylor Funeral And Cremation Service, 216-451-7590.