Respected town leader passes
A former town mayor and community leader who started the Down East Mall in eastern P.E.I.’s largest town has passed away.
Arnold Wightman died Sunday, Jan. 3, and racked up a list of accomplishments during his 88 years of life.
In 2014, he was honoured as a visionary business entrepreneur when inducted into the P.E.I. Business Hall of Fame.
He saw a business opportunity in 1958 when he purchased the Co-op property on Main Street and opened a Lucky Dollar Store. Ten years later he purchased an old pulp yard where he built the town’s first mall — a venture that is now busy and occupied Down East Mall.
He also owned and operated a furniture store, a restaurant and a Laundromat.
Meanwhile, Wightman focused on building the town. He served as town clerk for 20 years and then became mayor from 1973 to 1975.
“He was always keen on promoting our town and everyone had the greatest respect for him,’’ said Mayor Richard Collins. “We are saddened to hear of his passing and extend sincerest sympathy to his only son Roger and family.”
When his business day ended, Wightman was instrumental in becoming a founding member of the Garden of the Gulf museum — the first community museum on the Island — with former Lt.Gov. Gilbert Clements.
He also helped start the town board of trade, was also a driving force to focus attention on the town waterfront and marina and was an original member of the Montague Rotary Club.
“He was always a real gentleman in every possible way,’’ said Collins.
Wightman suffered an ailment that affected his speech in later life but always wore a suit and tie when he went for a walk through the town.