William W. Wright, 82, FDA biochemist

July 17, 2006

William Wynn Wright, a former biochemist with the Food and Drug Administration and adviser to the World Health Organization, died Saturday of renal failure at his Silver Spring home. He was 82.

He was born in Baltimore and graduated from Towson Catholic High School. He earned a scholarship to Loyola College in Maryland, where he received a degree in biochemistry in 1941. He earned a master's degree and a doctorate in biochemistry at Georgetown University.

Dr. Wright worked for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for 33 years, advancing to become a deputy director who oversaw certification of antibiotics and insulin.

In 1980, he became a consultant at U.S. Pharmacopeia, an independent health organization that sets standards for medicines and other health care products.

He also served as a U.S. representative and an expert on pharmaceutical sciences for the World Health Organization for 30 years. He was a member of the organization's expert panel on antibiotics and its biological standardization unit. In 2004, he was recognized by two associations in India for his service to the field of pharmaceutical analytical chemistry.

Dr. Wright also spent a great deal of time reading and writing for scientific journals.

He was married for 61 years to the former Mary Theresa Mead. They moved to Silver Spring in 1954 and enjoyed traveling in Europe.

He attended St. Camillus Roman Catholic Church in Silver Spring for many years and was a member of Holy Family Seminary in Silver Spring as well.

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Camillus, 1600 St. Camillus Drive.

In addition to his wife, survivors include three daughters, Ann Simmons-Knight of Bowie, Jane Simonds-Kirschbaum of Laurel and Kathleen Borsch of Hampstead; two sons, Stephen Wright of Ellicott City and Drew Wright of Hyattsville; a brother, John C. Wright of Parkton; nine grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

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