David K. Wright, 65

David K. Wright, 65, of Madison, formerly of West Bend, died on June 25, 2008, from lymphoma caused by exposure to dioxin (Agent Orange).

He was born on Jan. 10, 1943, in Richmond, Ind., and graduated from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, in 1966.

Drafted into the Army after college, David declined officer training and instead chose to serve as an infantryman in Vietnam. After the war, he worked as a newspaper reporter and editor, jobs he thought of as enabling him to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. He valued short, compelling leads and never missed a deadline. His guidance to news photographers was simply "F8 and be there."

In 1983, David became an author. Over the course of the next 20 years, he went on to write more than 40 books. His very first book, "The History of the Harley Davidson Motor Company," became an international best seller. His others include a four-volume history of the Vietnam War, biographies of John Lennon, Arthur Ashe and Frank Lloyd Wright, and a series of books on such countries as Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos and Burma.

David was preceded in death by his parents, Richard and Wilma Wright.

He is survived by his wife, Linda Minash of Madison; his beloved (if overweight) dog, Jessie; his son, Austin of Madison; his daughter, Monica of Minneapolis; his brother, Donald of New York; his former wife, Grace Wright of West Bend; and friends and readers around the world.

A memorial gathering for family and friends is planned at The Bar Next Door in Madison from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Among the songs selected by David to be played there will be "Heaven" by The Talking Heads, which includes the lyric, "Heaven is a place where nothing, nothing ever happens."