Cynthia Wright died of natural causes at her Pacific Palisades home on August 20 at the age of 86. Cynthia was preceded in death by her parents, Otto and Annabel Saakes.
Cynthia Wright, a native Californian, was born on June 26, 1935, in Los Angeles. She enjoyed an atmosphere of creativity and beauty as a small child playing in her father’s flower shop, the first shop in LA.
In 1948, she moved with her parents to Palos Verdes Estates, a country atmosphere offering a change from the bustle of downtown LA, as her parents took over running the flower shop. Close to the ocean, it was now possible for her family and their guests to sail to Catalina Island on weekends and vacations often, their vintage yawl sailboat moored conveniently in the harbor.
A talented art major at Redondo High School, Cynthia was awarded a scholarship to Chouinard Art Institute, graduating with a major in fashion design in 1956. Cynthia’s talents led her to design a line of clothing for women, focusing on classic lines, rich fabrics and innovative coordinating pieces.
She opened her first shop, Cynthia’s Causals, in Manhattan Beach in July of 1956. As a sole proprietor, Cynthia was responsible for all aspects of this business. The simplicity and elegance of her designs created a large clientele who recognized this young woman as far ahead of the times. Stores were then opened in Westwood and Torrance with demand for her designs growing.
Cynthia’s path took a diverse turn in 1968 when she married Thomas Wright, a career abalone fisherman. Together the couple planned and oversaw the building of a state-of-the-art fishing schooner. Familiar with boats and the sea, the adventuresome Cynthia spent the next 15 years on the high seas tending the boat for her diver husband, also managing the business and bookkeeping aspects as partner in Wright Commercial Fishing.
In 1983, single again, Cynthia’s home in Pacific Palisades became the love of her life. Focusing on interior decoration and creative gardening, Cynthia found a rewarding career close to home in the Village of Pacific Palisades. She developed lasting clientele relationships as a sales and fashion consultant, also designing window and interior displays. Cynthia was again using her creative and business skills, first in a fashionable women’s clothing and footwear shop and later in a lovely boutique.
Upon retirement, Cynthia focused on her garden, filled with Hawaiian orchids and other exotics flowering plants. Her love of antique fairs and swap meets was a long-time interest that she enjoyed, always adding special touches to her beautifully decorated home.
Cynthia was buried on September 2 at Green Hills Memorial Park overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Rancho Palos Verdes. She was a long-time friend of Pepperdine University and her estate will establish the Cynthia Wright Endowed Scholarship at Seaver College for students in Fine Arts. Her legacy at Pepperdine will honor her dedication to an artistic environment by assisting young students with the same creative drive.
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