FARMINGTON – Mary M. Wright, 73, whose devotion to Farmington and its residents guided her during 14 years of involvement with the town, died Sunday, Jan. 14, at Franklin Memorial Hospital.

She was born Dec. 14, 1933, in Falmouth, Mass., a daughter of the late Charles M. and Edith (Foster) Williams.

She was a graduate of the Farmington State Teachers College, Class of 1956, and retired in 1989 after 33 years of teaching children in the fifth and sixth grade. She was the town’s first woman selectman and served on the board until her death, including the last eight years as chairman. She served on numerous committees and attended all planning and appeals board meetings.

In the past year, as her health worsened, she cut down on her involvement but remained informed. She volunteered at Edgewood Rehabilitation and Living Center in Farmington. She enjoyed sewing and quilting. One of her greatest joys was spending summers on Cape Cod at the family cottage.

She first emerged as a civic-minded public figure in 1976, with her efforts to save the Walton’s Mill Dam in West Farmington. Two years later, she was elected to the board of selectmen. Among her guiding principles has been to look out for the interests of the common man and woman.

She has always expressed and embodied a unique style of personally modest, unabrasively persistent, well-informed activism. In more than quarter of a century she has been involved in town affairs, she has been one of the community’s most graciously outspoken and effective leaders. Few people in the roles she has played have been able to be as diplomatically honest.

In addition to her husband of more than 49 years, Richard T. Wright of Farmington, whom she married in 1957, she is survived by a daughter, Susan Robbins, and her husband, Bill, of Freeport; a son, James Wright, and his wife, Kimberlee, of Westbrook; two grandchildren, Garen Wright of Westbrook and Eliot Robbins of Freeport; a sister, Nancy Chute, and her husband, Edward, of Falmouth.

In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her brother, Arthur Williams.