ELSMERE — Lefty played guitar. And he did so much more.
Stephen R. Wright, volunteer firefighter and local rock star, died on Monday, Dec. 13 at the age of 66.
A 46-year member of the Elsmere Fire Company, Wright was as visible as any one person could be without running for elected office. Within that fraternal order, he served several posts with the Red Knights, Fireman’s Association of the State of New York and the state Association of Fire Chiefs. He chaired the Albany County Volunteer Fire Recruitment and Retention Committee. he has served as the chairman for the Hudson-Mohawk Volunteer Firefighters Association and Albany County Volunteer Fireman’s Association conventions.
Wright was twice awarded Firefighter of the Year by the fire company; first in 2017 and again in 2020. He was honored in 2002 for his support in the 9/11 World Trade Center Response. Since joining the company in 1979, he had served as Property Clerk, Director, Vice-President, President and Fire Police Lieutenant. He became an active “life” member in 2000 after achieving 25 years of active service. Most recently, he was elected both President-Elect and Fire Police Lieutenant just four days before he died.
“It is deepest regret and sincerest condolences to his family that we announce the passing of fire police member Stephen R. Wright,” wrote members of the Elsmere Fire Company in an online statement. “Needless to say, Steve’s hard work and enthusiasm will be sorely missed far beyond the Elsmere Fire Company Family. Our condolences to his family, including sons, son-in-law, and grandson who all carry on his proud tradition in the fire service.”
Wright’s love for his service melded in with his lifelong passion for music when he founding his band Playin’ With Fire. For 15 years, he’d be on stage while playing his electric guitar. Through the years, the band earned accolades for being among the best within a local scene known well for exemplary music. Last month, he was in attendance at The 2021 Capital Region Thomas Edison Awards where bandmate Kim Cirillio Wickham was nominated for Songwriter of the Year.
“I don’t even know what to say. I miss you already,” Wickham stated as she began her online tribute. Her friendship with Wright started when she was 7 years old and developed more as she started singing in the band. “You’d send me lyrics via text and I’d reply back with a lyric to you. That’s how some of our songs were written. I have so many lyrics in my email that you have sent me over the years.
“You were not done!”
Wickham and her family vacationed and spent holidays together with Wright over the years. She described him as kind hearted, passionate and compassionate.
“You always took the high road in everything you did,” she stated. “You had the most amazing soft heart of anyone I’ve ever known.”
Stephen R. Wright, 66 of Elsmere, N.Y. passed away unexpectedly on December 13, 2021.
His friends knew him by many names such as Big Daddy, Stevie, Lefty and Rock Star. He was born in Albany, NY to the late William Wright and Rosemary Blodgett (Pittz).
He was an appliance technician for 25 years with RCA/Whirlpool and General Electric where he developed long lasting friendships.
Steve was a life member of the Elsmere Fire Company and the current President-Elect and Fire Police Lieutenant where he has served the community of Bethlehem for the past 46 years. He has been awarded Firefighter of the Year twice along with many other accolades. Through his many years of community service, he has served as the chairman for the Hudson-Mohawk Volunteer Firefighters Association and Albany County Volunteer Fireman’s Association conventions respectively. He chaired the Albany County Volunteer Fire Recruitment and Retention Committee and was also tapped by the Town of Bethlehem where he successfully chaired the town’s Bicentennial Celebration.
Lefty was recently elected to the position of Vice President of the Red Knights, NY III motorcycle club of Albany, NY where he has been a member for the past 12 years. He also served as a Road Captain, riding in tandem with his RKMC family.
Passionate about music from childhood, Steve was a founding member of Playin’ With Fire Band. They have been playing the Capital Region for 15 years and were voted one of the Capitol Region’s Top 5 Best Local bands two years in a row by the Times Union Best Of. The band recently attended the Regional Eddie Awards after being nominated for songwriting. Steve will be remembered as a prolific songwriter, amazing rhythm guitarist, vocalist, and recording artist. He was the bands driving force both in concerts and the studio.
Steve will be forever missed by all and is survived by; his wife of 43 years, Elaine Wright (Bidwell); his father Ronald Blodgett; his children Kristopher Wright (Sarah), Stephanie Moon (Michael), and Michael Wright; grandchildren, Trever, Kylianna, Cameron, Sydney, and Lucy; his brother David Wright and sister Rhonda Farley; many nieces, nephews, and extended family; and his constant K9 companions Bernie and Jeter.
Visitation was on Tuesday, Dec. 21 at Applebee Funeral Home in Delmar. A firefighter procession from the funeral home to the Elsmere Fire House followed the visitation with a short ceremony and reception.