Ila 'Polly' Wright

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Ila “Polly” Wright passed peacefully to her heavenly reward on November 24. She was Born June 6, 1925, Apex, North Carolina to John Lee Upchurch, Sr., and Margaret Tomlinson Upchurch. Her given name was Ila. But her parents nicknamed her Polly. The name stuck and suited her perfectly from then on. Polly was an accomplished pianist and vocal soloist as a child and young woman. She sang at her church and in school performances in Apex. Music held a special place throughout her lifetime, and she appreciated all genres of music. Her father was known for his backyard holiday barbeques in Apex. Friends and family gathered for the events and guests were always welcome. One guest was Amos Jones, a handsome young soldier stationed at nearby Ft. Bragg. He was a Sanford, Florida native. The young man started coming around often to see Polly. They fell in love and wanted to marry. He told Polly’s father his intention to marry her. But Polly’s father failed to believe Jones’ serious intentions or that he was the right man for his beautiful eldest daughter. So her father offered Polly a sizable sum of money if she would change her mind. She refused the offer. She and Jones were married on March 4, 1945, in a formal ceremony in her parents’ living room. The newlyweds lived in Gainesville, Florida while Jones attended University of Florida. They then moved to Sanford where his family had farmed since 1922. Polly loved Sanford and said she never wanted to move back to North Carolina. One of her first jobs, as a high school girl in Apex, was that of manager of the Apex Movie Theater. So after the move to Sanford, she went to work at the Ritz Theater, known as the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center. She then went to work as a teller at the Sanford Atlantic National Bank, now Wells Fargo, in downtown Sanford. She held various positions at the bank including head teller and branch manager. She worked at the bank for over 25 years. She often represented the bank as a model for local fashion shows. Polly was well known, well liked and loved in Sanford. She loved stylish clothes and wore them well because of her trim figure and 5-foot-8-inch height. When she and her sister, Frances, were children, Frances called Polly a prima donna because Polly preferred to wear dresses or skirts and blouses instead of shorts or slacks. Polly also was always known for her beautiful hair. As she aged, Polly took pride in her white hair that always looked perfect. She enjoyed recognition for her appearance. After her bank career, she worked as resident manager for Town and Lake Apartments on First Street. She held that position for over 25 years and until she was 82 years of- age. She didn’t drive until well into her ‘40’s. She rode to work each morning with a neighbor until she learned to drive. She had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh. Her distinctive, infectious laugh could be heard by all those around her. Her marriage to Jones ended in divorce in 1973. She married Roy R. Wright, Jr. in 1974. They were married for 24 years until his death in 1998. Over the past 12 years, Polly has dealt with progressive dementia issues. She had lived in assisted living facilities until her death. Her daughter, Joan Levy, oversaw her Mother’s care nearly every day over those years. She said, “Mother’s care was the greatest privilege of my life.” She is predeceased by her parents, half-brother, John Lee Upchurch, Jr., first husband Amos E. Jones and husband, Roy R. Wright, Jr. Polly is survived by daughter Joan Levy and son-in-law Darrell Ealey, stepson Roy Wright III, (Marilyn) and sisters Frances Carpenter (John), Raleigh, N.C., and Sue Ellen Seamon, N.C., sisters-in-law Martha Graham, Webster, FL. and Bernadine Jones, Denver, CO., three grandchildren; Sara Bryant (Joseph), Marjorie Seay (Ricky), Roy IV (Milisa), eight great grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be observed on Saturday, December 9 at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Mary 128 W. Wilbur Ave., Lake Mary at 1:30 PM. Visitation will be held from 1:00-1:30 p.m. Reception to follow in Fellowship Hall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in her memory to: Alzheimer’s Association, Hospice of the Comforter, First Presbyterian Church of Lake Mary or a charity of one’s choosing in Polly’s memory. Arrangements entrusted to GRAMKOW FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORY 500 E. Airport Blvd. Sanford, Fl., 32773 Phone (407)322-3213

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