Long-time local businessman Gene Wright made many contributions to the local community.
His sense of community was recognized last week, as the Kentucky
Department of Transportation unveiled the sign naming Bypass 90 the
Gene "Cedar" Wright Memorial High-way.
Transportation officials, friends and family members gathered with
State Representative Ken Upchurch for a ceremony to officially unveil
the sign to honor Wright, who passed away earlier this year.
"This is one of those occasions that I truly do enjoy when I get to
honor someone in my hometown or in the district who has stood out in
the community. We are here to honor Gene "Cedar" Wright, who was
truly a great citizen of Wayne County and a leader," said Upchurch as
he welcomed everyone to the ceremony, held beside Bypass 90 at the
new Monticello Banking Company location.
Following is information shared by Upchurch at the ceremony.
Wright was born here in 1931 and resided in Wayne County his entire
life. He and his wife, Betty Brown Wright, were married over 66 years
when he passed away in January at the age of 88.
Wright was a graduate of Monticello High School and was a veteran,
serving in the Korean conflict with Battery C, 1st Battalion, 623rd
Field Artillery. He continued with the guard unit, achieving the rank
of Sergeant First Class.
He was a local businessman for more than 50 years. He became the
president and general manager of Wright and Wright Machinery Company
Inc., following the death of his father, Howard, the founder of the
Wright and Wright, originally called Wright Machinery Company, was
a John Deere, Willys Jeep dealership in Monticello. It later carried
GMC trucks and Honda motorcycles. Wright managed the business until
he retired in 1994.
Wright had a great interest in the progress of the community. He
served in many civic capacities, as past president of the Monticello-
Wayne County Airport Board, a volunteer fireman and was a charter
developer, critically instrumental in the construction of the
Monticello city bypass.
As early as 1972, Monticello officials proposed an "airport" bypass
to solve traffic problems in downtown Monticello. However, local
politicians were making little progress in getting funding for the
In the summer of 1982, Wright, along with Charles Cowan, Harold Bell
and Cosby Upchurch, Jr., set out to make the bypass a reality.
Businesses were already cropping up along the previously purchased
land in hopes that the bypass would someday materialize. Wright took
their case to the governor who came to Monticello at his request,
visited the site and was compelled to take their recommendation and
approved $10.2 million in funding to build the bypass and the Beaver
Ground for the bypass was broken on May 6, 1982.