Dr. Lilyan Boyd Wright of Goshen, New Hampshire passed peacefully on November 14, 2017 after 97 and a half years of an active life filled with adventure, sports, travel, and local community engagement. Married to Richard P. Wright in October 1942, Lilyan and “Dick” were career educators. Lilyan served as the Dean for the College of Physical Education at the former Trenton State College, presently known as The College of New Jersey. She also served as the Woman’s Athletic Director. Lilyan’s accomplishments include being inducted into Temple University and The College of New Jersey Hall of Fame. She was also honored by the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce in 2016 as its “Distinguished Citizen of the Year” when she was 95 years old.
An avid and accomplished athlete, Lilyan’s passion for Field Hockey was a lifetime endeavor and her advocacy of women’s rights in education and athletics championing Title IX and related equal opportunity issues was never ending. After retiring, Lilyan spent her remaining years teaching, coaching and refereeing boys and girls field hockey across the country. Her dedication and love of the sport of field hockey led to the New Hampshire Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (NHAHPERD) creating a Lilyan B. Wright Service Award recognizing an individual or organization making a significant contribution to NHAHPERD.
Originally from Langhorne, Pennsylvania, Lilyan and Richard moved to Goshen over 25 years ago and adopted Goshen as their hometown where she served on the Church of the Epiphany vestry as well as a Goshen Library Trustee.
Lilyan remained active throughout her life in athletics and in addition to field hockey, she enjoyed hiking, alpine and cross-country skiing, tennis, sailing, running and especially teaching aerobics to "Lilyan's Limber Ladies" at the Newport Recreation Center, among a myriad of other physical activities well into her mid-90's. Her love of sport and the spirit of friendly competition also led her to not only attend nearly every Summer Olympic Game since 1972, but to share this love with her grandchildren by bringing them with her to the Games in Moscow, Los Angeles and Seoul during their early teens.
Lilyan and Richard had one child, Nicki W. Vanek, whom passed away in February, 2016. She is survived by her three grandchildren and their spouses, Christopher and Kim Vanek, Adrienne Vanek and Steven Akkad, and Eric and Alex Vanek whom loved her as a mother, friend, and lifetime role model. Lilyan was a great grandmother to Alexa and Amelia Vanek.
A memorial will be held in her remembrance at the Church of the Epiphany in Newport, New Hampshire on July 1st, 2018.