In Memory of




Obituary for Aretha Wright (Hall)

Aretha Hall Wright was born in Holly Hill, South Carolina on January 12, 1943 to Ernest and Alice Rose Hall.

She was called to her Heavenly Home on March 30, 2023, passing peacefully in her sleep after extended medical care. Aretha is survived by her husband of 62 years Alvin Wright, Jr., and her three children Darryl L. Wright, Sr. (Diane), Donna Lynn Wright (Larry), and Devonne Lenelle Newsome; eleven grandchildren, two great- grandchildren, and a host of nieces and nephews who make up her large extended family. Aretha was the second eldest of six siblings, four of whom predeceased her: Alberta Leonard (Shirley Leonard-Mims), Ernestine Peters (Dina Hall and Daniel Hall), Charles Coates, and Dorothy Coates. Her brother Lawrence Hall (Judy) of South Carolina survives her.

Aretha grew up and was educated in the Washington, D.C. public school system. After graduating from Eastern High School, she married her childhood sweetheart Alvin who had joined the U.S. Air Force. The couple and their three children lived in California until the end of Alvin’s four-year enlistment when they returned to live again in Washington. Alvin began a career at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and Aretha began work at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) where she served with distinction for more than 10 years and received a number of performance awards. When Alvin received an assignment to the Far East, the family had its first visit to Hawaii en route to their destination and would visit again when they returned home. While overseas, Aretha and Alvin worked while raising their children and enjoyed taking tours in that part of the world to see places like Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and others. Upon the family’s return to the U.S., Aretha began her own career at CIA which lasted until her retirement in 1994 after a total of 27 years of excellent government service.

After retirement, Aretha’s life was filled with helping the caregiving of her mother and later her sister; supporting her husband Alvin as he cared for his mother; church activities, and doting on her grand-children and great-
grandchildren who loved “Grandma” and “Gram” dearly as the Queen of the family. The Queen loved to cook certain dishes, but would be the first to tell you that a lot of cooking was a “pain in the pots and pans” and she was just fine with Alvin texting DoorDash and UberEats as much as possible! But her family would be the first to tell you that the glory of her big pot of slow-cooked 18-bean soup with ham hocks and hot, buttered Jiffy cornbread was not to be denied and never to be missed! Lauren, Darah, Melina, Darryl Jr, Squire, Chase, Skye, Alexandra, Darryl Anthony, Madison, Lawren, LaMonte, and LaMaree all knew they were in loving trouble during their visits when they saw the Queen do that famous eye roll of hers after they said or did something silly!! But every eye roll was canceled by “Gram’s” big hugs and cherished by all!

In addition to enjoying her large family and Church friends and activities, throughout her adult life Aretha was an avid reader of mystery and detective novels, especially by women such as Mary Higgins Clark, Patricia Cornwell, African American mystery writer Barbara Neely, and Janet Evanovich. Aretha also was a fan of James Patterson, John Sandford, David Baldacci, John Grisham, and Phillip Margolin among many others and kept a serious collection of many titles near her bedroom recliner. She was a long-time fan of a variety of TV shows such as The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Blacklist, and especially Law and Order SVU which she followed from its debut many years ago, and she recorded all of her shows to watch on a very disciplined schedule.

Aretha’s active church life began at 12 years old at Lane Memorial CME Church in her northeast Washington, D.C. neighborhood where both she and Alvin were in the same Sunday School class and Youth Fellowship Group. Her church activities continued into adulthood and marriage. When the family moved to Maryland, she stayed active in various church ministries such as the Nurses Ministry, Women’s Ministry, Bible Study, Sunday School, and the Never Left Behind Ministry, tutoring kids at Capitol Heights Elementary School. Wherever she was, she made lasting impressions and formed enduring friendships while continuously strengthening her faith. After many church-going years during which she worked with young people, emphasizing the value of following the Golden Rule, teaching them to be their best selves and to diligently pursue their goals, she joined the sisters and brothers of Sharon Bible Fellowship Church in Lanham, Maryland. She became a dedicated and enthusiastic team member of the Evangelism Ministry and the Tuesday Afternoon Senior Life Group. She was loved by all for her common sense wit, sense of humor, and her meaningful presence and positive contributions to the success of these ministries and her entire church.
Aretha was a woman of strength and integrity, and was the ever able, always reliable rock in her family: always available to listen, feel, and act. She loved her life, her family, her Church, her friends, and her Lord God who in his
infinite wisdom has taken her home into his safe and everlasting arms.

The family requests that in instead of flowers, donations be made in Aretha’s honor to her beloved church, Sharon Bible Fellowship Church, 6117 Seabrook Rd, Lanham, MD 20706, 301-429-3345.