Della G. Wright, a former city public schools food service manager and teacher’s aide, died March 30 at Sinai Hospital from cancer. The Northwest Baltimore resident was 83.
The former Della Mae Gilliam was born and raised in East Baltimore, the daughter of Plummer Gilliam and his wife, Mary Lou Bartee Gilliam.
She was a graduate of Dunbar High School and for 40 years before retiring in the early 2000s was a food service manager and a teacher’s aide at Mount Royal Elementary-Middle School in Bolton Hill. Earlier, she held similar positions at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center and Bethlehem Steel Corp. in Sparrows Point.
“Della was a beacon of light to all of the students and staff at Mount Royal. She started and managed the school store and stocked up on clean uniforms, underwear, and personal hygiene supplies to serve students in need, free of charge,” Cinnamon Green, a granddaughter, of Owings Mills, wrote in a biographical profile of Mrs. Wright.
“She even organized the purchase of a washer and dryer for the students to be able to clean their uniforms onsite. She also fed teachers and staff a special lunch on a weekly basis,” wrote Ms. Green.
In recognition of her work at the school, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke declared April 26, 1989, Della Wright Day, and a new playground at the school was constructed and named for her.
Mrs. Wright was an active member of Word of God Church and Ministries, where she served with the food pantry and outreach, seniors, bereavement, and culinary ministries.
She participated in Bible study classes, visited the sick, evangelized at nursing homes and contributed to the scholarship ministry.
Mrs. Wright was also a founding member and served for a decade with the Brown Family Ministry, which feeds 90 to 100 women on a monthly basis at My Sister’s Place Women’s Center of Baltimore City.
She enjoyed cooking and fashion, and was especially known for her millinery.
Her husband of 12 years, Aaron Wright, an Air Force veteran and caterer, died in 1990.
Services were held Thursday at her church.
In addition to her granddaughter, she is survived by a son, Vincent Gilliam Sr. of Hagerstown; two daughters, Diane Thompson and Sheila Brown, both of Baltimore; a brother, Thomas “Joe” Gilliam of Baltimore; 10 other grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; and 10 great-great-grandchildren. Another daughter, Pamela Wade, died in 2015.