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Paul William Wright

July 7, 1944 August 20, 2018
Paul William Wright
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Obituary for Paul William Wright

Paul William Wright died peacefully surrounded by his loving family in the late evening of August 20, 2018 after a valiant fight with prostatic cancer. Paul was born in Jamestown, New York on July 7, 1944 to the late Julian Maynard Wright, Sr. and Priscilla Ruth Blake Wright and spent most of his early years in Auburn, New York. He graduated second in his class at Georgetown University’s School of Business Administration in 1966 and received his JD from Georgetown Law Center in 1969. Upon graduation, Paul commenced his practice in the energy field by becoming a trial attorney on the staff of the Federal Power Commission (now FERC). During this time, he also served as a 1st Lieutenant in the Army Reserve. On January 1, 1973, he began his career in Exxon Corporation’s Law Department in Houston, Texas.

During his 37 years at ExxonMobil, Paul gained a wealth of legal experience in virtually all aspects of the company’s upstream operations. This experience included handling administrative hearings before FERC and the Department of Interior, drafting all kinds of agreements and, later, managing and participating in a docket of several hundred lawsuits. He also gained considerable experience managing and participating in significant litigation affecting the company’s downstream, chemical, and shipping activities, including cases related to the VALDEZ accident, a series of lawsuits involving patents on motor lubricating oil additives, and cases involving Exxon’s merger with Mobil.

During the last 15 years of Paul’s career with ExxonMobil, he was responsible for the coordination of international disputes. During this period of time, he acted as lead counsel in several of the company’s largest cases, including an arbitration before an ICC Court tribunal in Europe (which was then the largest case ever submitted to the ICC), a case involving a significant claim for damages arising out of the construction of a floating production and storage vessel in the North Sea, and cases alleging serious human rights abuses in Indonesia and South Africa.

Paul thoroughly enjoyed working with other lawyers and sharing his experiences and lessons learned in litigation and other forms of dispute resolution with his clients. Over his career at ExxonMobil, he held several managerial positions in its Law Department at several locations. At all times, he preferred to roll up his sleeves and dig into the very core of the matters assigned to him and/or the lawyers reporting to him. He maintained membership in four state bar associations and found time to be actively involved in bar association activities in the locations where he has served. While in Louisiana, he was one of the founders of the New Orleans Pro Bono Project and was later elected as the second President of the Louisiana Bar Foundation in 1990. More recently, he served as President of the Houston International Arbitration Club and maintained an active association with leading members of the international arbitration community.

Paul joined the Fulkerson Lotz LLP Law Firm in Texas after retiring from ExxonMobil and became a “gentleman farmer,” along with his beloved wife, Marilyn. Their Seven Star Farm in Wimberley, Texas, became a passion for both of them as they shared the joy of looking out over the rolling hills of the beautiful Texas Hill Country and watching a myriad of animals take their first baby steps. This natural beauty inspired Paul to reflect on his forty-two years of legal practice, the Rule of Law and how it works as an indispensable tool within a civilized society. He wrote that “every U.S. citizen justifiably builds up a set of reasonable expectations as to how certain conduct might be allowed, rewarded, or, in some cases, punished under the laws applicable to all of us, that this societal overlay is founded in our Constitution and more specifically defined in the federal and state laws and regulations that have developed over time.” People who loved and respected Paul’s brilliant intellect and thinking after many years of practicing international law begged him on many occasions to write a book to share his knowledge and experience; however, cancer took him before he was able to do so.

Paul’s faith, kindness, big heart, sense of humor, joie de vivre, and devotion to his friends and family were unique. He was indeed, “one of a kind.” He will be missed immensely.

Survivors include his wife, Marilyn, his four wonderful children, Jeffrey Paul Wright, Stephen O’Rourke, Allison Anne Harridge & Tyson James Davis, their spouses and partners, four grandchildren, Ashlyn Marie Davis, Madelyn Elizabeth Wright, Aiden James Wright, Adalyne Ruby Harridge and a fifth, Jonathan Pierce Harridge, on the way, his beloved brother, CAPT Julian Maynard “Skip” Wright, Jr. (USN-ret), his wife, Anne, and many nieces and nephews.

His family will receive friends at Thomason Funeral Home in Wimberley on Friday, August 24, 2017 from 4:00 PM through 9:00 PM. His funeral Service will be held at Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church in Wimberley on Saturday, August 25, 2018 at 2:00 PM. Interment will follow at Saint Stephen's Episcopal Cemetery in Wimberley. A memorial service celebrating Paul’s magnificent life will be held at a later date at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. For more information, call Thomason Funeral Home at (512) 847-2226 or visit to sign the guest book.

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