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Shennette Garrett-Scott

millionaire franchiser, real-estate developer, and hotelier, was born Alonzo Gordon Wright in Fayetteville, Tennessee, the eldest of three children of Alonzo Wright and Joyce Kelso Wright. Wright had two younger brothers, William and Charles Kelso. His father died when Wright was about six. His mother moved to the Lakeside community of Cleveland, Ohio, during World War I for better job opportunities. Wright started out as a teenager with only an eighth-grade education and a few cents in his pocket. Ambitious and resourceful, he worked several odd jobs, including stints as a teamster, foundry worker, and mail-truck driver.

While working as a parking attendant at the city's Auditorium Garage, he had occasion to talk with a number of business executives who parked there. He struck up a friendship with the Standard Oil executive W. T. Holliday. In 1928 President Holliday offered Wright a receptionist position at Standard Oil and ...