Clifford Emerson Wright was born on September 21, 1927 to Sam and Ada Wright of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. His early education was at Albert and Victoria Schools, before attending Nutana Collegiate high school, whereupon he studied engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, but left prior to graduating. After leaving university, Wright became an apprentice carpenter with Smith Brothers and Wilson, with whom he would rise to become Saskatchewan Manager and Vice President in 1970. In 1987 he bought the Saskatchewan assets of the firm and established the company Wright Construction. In addition to this private enterprise, Wright became involved in local politics and served on Saskatoon City Council from 1967 until 1976, when he was elected mayor. He would serve as Saskatoon's mayor four consecutive terms until his retirement in 1988. In addition, at various time he was member (1965-1976) and chair (1969-1976) of the University Hospital Board, chair of the Saskatchewan Potash Corporation (1983), president of the Saskatchewan Futures Corporation (1988), and chair of the Saskatoon District Health Board (1992-1995). Of note Wright also served as Treaty Land Entitlement Commissioner from 1989-1993, during which he worked worked the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, federal and provincial governments to settle land claims for twenty-five (25) First Nations in Saskatchewan. Wright also found time to be involved with organizations such as the YMCA and YWCA, Saskatchewan Abilities Council, Cosmopolitan Industries, Parenting Incorporated, the United Way, and Big Brothers.
During his life he received honours such as an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Saskatchewan (1988); CFQC Citizen of the Year (1988); Canada 125 Medal (1992); Officer of the Order of Canada (1998); Saskatchewan Order of Merit (1999); and Saskatchewan Centennial Medal (2005).
Wright died in Saskatoon, on December 9, 2014.
Wright married his wife Betty Dye in 1951 and together had four children (sons Lorne, Jack, Don, and daughter Nancy).