Shawna Erin Wright passed away on July 4, 2021, after a long battle with mental illness. She died alone on the streets because our system did not allow her family to compel her to get care and would not provide her with low barrier housing that would keep her from the heat while she was acutely psychotic. Shawna never hurt anyone, yet spent a year in jail because it was the only way for our flawed system to get her the care she so desperately needed.
Because of the trauma endured by the way we care for the seriously mentally ill, she was unwilling to go through another hospitalization, so instead chose to live her last days in a shelter, declining hotel rooms and unable to rent an apartment because of her arrest history.
Shawna was born November 7, 1958 in Salt Lake City, the 4th child (out of 5) to a loving family in Holladay. She attended Skyline High School where she was well remembered by teachers as highly intelligent. Shawna was an excellent gymnast and an exceptional skier.
She had a brief marriage in 1979; a marriage marred by the racism and discrimination displayed by her extended family and the community, as well as domestic violence secondary to her spouse’s severe mental illness. The marriage was annulled in 1980. Shawna then went on to graduate from the University of Utah with a degree in Systems Engineering. Unfortunately because of her demons, and despite the loving care of her parents, she was unable to work as an engineer. Instead, she lived with them until their deaths in 2020 and 2021, caring for them, tending their roses, and playing the saxophone.
Shawna is preceded in death by her mother, Virginia (Jinny) Wright, and her father, Darrel Kent Wright. She is survived by her brothers Randall S. Wright and Alan E. Wright and her sisters, Shari Knighton (Calvin Clark), and Tricia E. Wright, three nieces, three nephews, and 2 great
Funeral services will be held for Shawna on Monday, July 12, 2021, at 2 pm at Larkin Sunset Lawn Mortuary, 2350 E. 1300 S, in Salt Lake City. A visitation will be held prior to the services beginning at 1:15 PM.
Interment will take place on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at 10AM at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Salt Lake City.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to The Road Home homeless services.
To view the previously held services, please click the blue "Watch Services" button above.
Im so sorry for your loss! I have a son with bipolar and 2 handicap sons. Their is help for my handicapped sons but no help for my son with mental illness. I hope and pray things will change.
I am so sorry to read of your loss. The obituary was quite powerful. I will remember what you have written, and I will send a donation to the Road Home in Shawna's name.
My condolences with such a sad, sad situation. Yes mentally I'll persons are not given the care they need. I dont have the answers, but know there r many that r very good people and sadly are ignored.
My prayers to u all and especially this lovely lady
We are sorry. We are sorry the world failed you, like so many before you (my brother 2019) and sadly after you who, even though you came from a loving family, had a brilliant mind - society failed you. My heart both aches and feels peace for you. We will do better, we have too. Rest well dear lady, may peace finally be yours.