Olivette Virginia (Jones) Wright

Olivette Virginia (Jones) Wright, 89, of Pittsburgh, PA passed away in Saint Louis, MO from complications of Alzheimer’s disease on January 29, 2024.

She was born in Martinsville, VA on May 12, 1934 to Annie Mae (Staples) Jones and William Henry Edward Jones III. Olivette attended Albert Harris Elementary School and in 1952 was a proud graduate of Palmer Memorial Institute (a private preparatory school). Olivette attended Hampton Institute in the early 1950’s and earned her bachelor’s degree from Bethune-Cookman College in 1959.

She was a life-long educator who taught physical and health education and coached girl’s basketball at Jones High School in Orlando, FL and George Washington Carver High School in Martinsville, VA in the 1960’s. In 1972 she and her family relocated to Pittsburgh, PA where she taught and coached basketball at Northside High School and Winchester-Thurston School from 1972-1980. She also taught at Pittsburgh Job Corps retiring in 2015 after 20 years of service. Throughout her teaching career, she touched many lives, especially at Pittsburgh Job Corps. Frequently she heard from students, long after graduation, who let her know the impact she had on them and how much she was appreciated.

Olivette is survived by her two brothers William Henry Edward Jones Jr. (and wife Marjorie) of Detroit, MI and Ronald Bernard Jones (and wife Loretta) of Glen Mills, PA and the late Darlene Beverly (Pharr) Jones of Philadelphia, PA; three adult children Dawna Renee Wright and Gregory
Alan Wright of Austin, TX and James Calvin Wright II of Saint Louis, MO as well as a dear daughter-in-law Barbara Michelle (Smith) Wright and granddaughter Sydney Michelle Wright also of Saint Louis, MO.

One of Olivette’s favorite things to do was to visit her brothers and their families: niece Yvette Nicole Nealy and nephew William Todd Jones of Detroit, MI; nieces Pamela Ann (Jones) Morton (and husband James) of Virginia Beach, VA; Monique Ja’net & Erika Kimberly Jones of Lawnside, NJ; and nephew David Edward Jones of Richmond, VA.

Olivette loved traveling and journeyed to many far away cities across the United States and internationally to Canada and the Bahamas. She was also known for organizing chartered trips, for her many friends, to casinos in Atlantic City and Connecticut. She valued her community of friends and maintained life-long contact with her fellow alumni by attending numerous reunions across the country introducing her children to her besties. Her lifelong friends that included Carolyn Self of Bethesda, MD; Shirley Wilson of Sanford, FL; Bonitha Giles of Martinsville, VA; Bessie Price and Eleanor & Gil of New Jersey as well as Pittsburgh neighbors Janice Brown, Evelyn Brown, Pat Lawyer, Gwen Miles, and Debbie Ottey provided amusement, companionship and accompanied her on shopping and entertainment excursions.

Olivette was an avid card player – pinochle was her game and she belonged to several pinochle clubs. And she loved music, especially The Temptations and the Motown sound! She had a very extensive vintage record collection and enjoyed listening to music every day. Olivette was also a movie buff with quite a VHS and DVD collection as well. Her favorite movie stars were Sidney Poitier and Denzel Washington.

A small private memorial service was held on February 2, 2024 in Saint Louis where she had lived for the last three and a half years under the loving care of James, Barbara and Sydney Wright.


  1. Dawna Wright on May 2, 2024 at 2:03 pm

    The Wright and Jones family will celebrate Mother’s Day in Martinsville, VA with the interment of the urn with Olivette’s ashes.

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