Funeral Arrangements Announced For Tommie Wright

By: Eyewitness News; Lanetra Bennett Email
By: Eyewitness News; Lanetra Bennett Email
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Updated By: Andy Alcock
May 16, 2014

A Florida State legend was given a final farewell with the song he composed.

The Marching Chiefs played the FSU Fight Song as Tommie Wright's casket was led away from his funeral.

Fittingly, Wright's funeral took place at a church on Stadium Drive, right across the street from the FSU campus he loved.

After Wright's coffin was loaded into a hearse, the Marching Chiefs played the fight song he composed a second time as friends and family sang along.

"That's what he would've wanted. My heart is filled with joy since I know my dad is smiling and he's so happy and singing along with us. And through that song and so many wonderful memories, he'll be with us forever," said Jessica Wright Applegate, Wright's daughter.

His daughter Jessica also tells us Tommie's main concern while he was hospitalized before he died was getting a Mother's Day present for his wife.

She bought it for him.

Tommy Wright was 95.


Updated By: Eyewitness News
May 15, 2014

The funeral for FSU fight song composer Tommie Wright is being held tomorrow.

The family will receive friends Thursday, May 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 312 Stadium Drive.

The funeral will be Friday at 11 a.m. at the church.

Bevis Funeral Home, 850-385-2193, www.bevisfh.com, is assisting the family with their arrangements.


By: Lanetra Bennett
May 9, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - A legend at Florida State has passed away. His dedication to FSU spans 60 years. But, Tommie Wright's legacy is forever.

"It is a touchdown!"

After that sound during a Florida State University football game, you always hear the sound of the school's fight song.

FSU student, William Blum says, "Whenever I hear the fight song, I always get this great sense of pride. I just love learning it after we get a touchdown, before the game, and just hearing it around campus."

The composer of FSU's fight song passed away Thursday night.

This is what Tommie Wright told Eyewitness News last September: "I wrote the fight song, gave it to the band director. They put it on the field the following Saturday."

That was 1950. The song has served many purposes on and off the field since.

Kaitlyn Blum will be starting graduate school at FSU in August. She says, "I had the fight song as my ringtone and also I'd have it as my alarm clock. I would wake up every morning to the sound of the fight song. I would be super excited because I couldn't wait to go to FSU for grad school."

The FSU Director of Bands, Patrick Dunnigan, says, "A lot of college fight songs are kind of mundane. Ours, Tommie gave us a catchy melody, very clever, good composition. It's entirely unique."

Dunnigan says, "It's a huge adrenaline rush." He says especially when it gets to this part: F-l-o-r-i-d-a S-t-a-t-e. Florida State! Florida State! Florida State! Woooo!

Administrators say they realized that throughout Wright's 50+ career, he'd never conducted the FSU Marching Chiefs in the song that he wrote. That changed just a couple of years ago, when they gave Wright the opportunity to lead the band in the fight song.

Dunnigan says that's a moment that he and the students playing in the band that day will never forget.

Please see the press release below for more on Wright's career.


News Release: Florida State University

May 9, 2014 - 11:15am

Our entire Florida State University family is deeply saddened by the passing of our dear colleague Thomas G. “Tommie” Wright. As a composer, international performer, pioneer of educational television and beloved professor, he touched the lives of thousands of Florida State students.

Professor Wright joined our faculty in 1949, and one year later he composed the music for the “FSU Fight Song,” the iconic signature sound of the university. By the time he retired in 2008, he had taught more than 58,000 students and left an indelible mark on Florida State.

While Professor Wright attained the pinnacle of the music profession as a performer and pedagogue, his reach went beyond the students who majored in piano. He generously dedicated the greatest share of his distinguished career to teaching music appreciation classes for general university students.

Whether performing concerts with leading symphony orchestras around the world or working in commercial radio and television, “Tommie” brought excellence and enthusiasm to every endeavor. Florida State recognized Professor Wright’s legacy with an Honorary Doctorate in Music in 2012.

Professor Wright’s most significant legacy is intangible — the love and admiration of thousands of Florida State alumni who still recall the joy of first learning how to experience and appreciate classical music. Years after graduating, many of our alumni still refer to his class as transformational.

Tommie’s dedication to the university for the past 60 years is without equal, and his contributions ensure he will remain in our hearts forever. Each and every time we gather to sing or perform the “Fight Song,” his memory and gregarious spirit will be remembered with pride and love.

Tommie Wright was a true Florida State treasure, and he will be missed.


By: Eyewitness News
May 8, 2014 - 11pm

Tommie Wright, the creator of the FSU fight song, passed away today.

Mr. Wright was also a professor at FSU, and you could always catch Tommie playing the piano.

We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.


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