Eleanor Mathilda Straub, daughter of Charles Henry Straub and Edna Caroline Schulz, was born on 25 June 1923 at home at 60 Marshall Place in Webster Groves and baptized in November at the Webster Groves Presbyterian Church. Elly attended Bristol Elementary School, was confirmed at Webster Presbyterian in 1936, and graduated from Webster Groves High School in 1941, as editor of the Webster Echo. Musically inclined, she played the flute and the piano by ear.

She entered Monticello College and again edited the newspaper. Graduating with an Associate of Arts degree in 1943, she transferred to Northwestern University where in 1945 she received B.S.J. and M.S.J. degrees. Elly began her career as society reporter and then staff writer for the St. Louis Post Dispatch. She joined Women in Communications (WIC) (formerly Theta Sigma Phi) in 1944.

Eleanor Mathilda Straub married James Arden Wright, son of John “Jack” Dewitt Wright and Verena “”Vee” Hannah Althaus, on 21 June 1947 at Webster Groves Presbyterian Church. Jim and Elly moved to Trenton, New Jersey, where Elly did publicity for a Trenton neighborhood house. In 1949, they moved back to Webster Groves and had two daughters.

Elly Straub Wright
Elly Straub Wright, 1941, 1968, and 2000
Photo in the collection of Carol Whitton
Used with permission

Elly became a Girl Scout leader, then district director of the St. Louis Girl Scout Council. About 1958, she returned to writing with a weekly column for the Webster News Times. Twice she served as president of the St. Louis Chapter of WIC and as national public relations director. In 1962, Elly became associate editor of the Electrical Apparatus Service Magazine, the Theta Xi Fraternity Unicorn magazine, and other magazines and was listed in Who’s Who. She volunteered as a field director for America Field Service, St. Louis, did freelance public relations for the St. Louis Bicentennial in 1976, and free publicity for the St. Louis Council of Girl Scouts, St. Andrews Society Scottish Highland Games, Webster Groves City, and the Friends of the Webster Groves Library.

Moving to Michigan in 1977, Elly was briefly an associate in public relations for Lawrence Institute of Technology, then roving editor for Observer Eccentric newspapers. In 1978, she became associate professor of journalism and public relations at Eastern Michigan University. There she created the public relations and journalism majors, started a WIC chapter, and founded the student chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), which was named for her. She received a distinguished faculty award. Additionally, she was elected to the local school board, acted as free job coordinator for the Detroit chapter of WIC, and student liaison for the Detroit chapter of PRSA. In 1993, Elly retired from Eastern Michigan, becoming a professor emeritus. In 2011, Elly was honored in Detroit by PRSA for distinguished service.

Returning to St. Louis in 2000, Elly served as president of Women’s Circles at Webster Presbyterian and was active in WIC and the League of Women Voters. Elly Wright died on 10 November 2013 at Laclede Groves Retirement Center at age ninety and was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Kirkwood.

Written by Carol Whitton
April 2017

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Last Modified: 25-Oct-2018 21:45