Funeral of Orville Wright

Large crowd at church

Large crowd at church

Orville Wright, who with his brother, Wilbur Wright, invented the first powered controlled aircraft, died on January 30, 1948, after suffering his second heart attack. He was 76. (Wilbur died in 1912 at the age of 45.) His niece, Ivonette Wright Miller, remembered his death and funeral in her reminiscences in 1978:

“Uncle Orv’s first heart attack occurred when he was hurrying up the steps at the National Cash Register Company (October 10, 1947) to keep an appointment. He fell ill and was taken to the hospital. Carrie (the Wright’s housekeeper) asked me if I would stay with him that night until the hospital could locate a nurse. I was glad to be there with him. Carrie came early the next morning and shortly afterward a registered nurse was on the case. All the nurses remarked what a wonderful patient he was. He was put under an oxygen tent and it wasn’t long before he found all kinds of things that could be changed to make it more efficient.”

Orville suffered a second heart attack on January 27, 1948. He died three days later on January 30, 1948.

Ivonette described his funeral:

“His services were at the Baptist Church at 2:30 P.M. with Dr. Charles Lyon Seasholes conducting. V.I.P.’s from all parts of the country were there. There was a loud speaker system set up so that the overflow crowd could hear the services from other parts of the church. At the conclusion of the church service we went to our cars. As the funeral procession moved over the Dayton streets, four jet fighter planes from Wright Field flew overhead. Flags were at half staff and the schools were closed at noon. When the services were performed at the cemetery, the planes flew low and dipped their wings…”

The following photographs from the Dayton Daily News Archive (MS-458) document the funeral services of Orville Wright, which took place on February 2, 1948, at First Baptist Church on Monument Avenue and at Woodland Cemetery. Click on an image to enlarge it and to read a more detailed description. (Once on the description page, click on the image again to view it full-size.)

The above photographs can be found in the Dayton Daily News Archive (MS-458), filed under “Wright, Orville – Death.”

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