Wightman, Donald Edward Sr, of Walpole, MA, formerly of Hyde Park, MA passed away on November 16, 2021 surrounded by his family
Beloved husband of 65 years to Virginia M. (Cleary) and loving father of Donald Wightman Jr. (Ret Sergeant Detective BPD) and his wife Deborah of Naples, FL; Cynthia Gately and her husband David of Hull, Loraine Evans and her husband Gary of Bolivia, NC; Rhonda Sharrow and her husband Kenneth of Walpole and Thomas Wightman of Hull. Devoted “Grandfather” of Donald Wightman, William Scanlon Jr. , Robert Miles III, Lindsey Buchholz, David Gately Jr, James Gately, and Elise Gately. Don was predeceased by his granddaughter Victoria “Torri” Wightman in 2006. Great Grandfather to Will, Claire, Harrison, Evelyn, Madeline, and Daniel.
Don was born in Hyde Park, MA on December 1, 1934 to James E. (Detective BPD) and Margaret J (Hammond). He attended Hyde Park High School where he was a gifted athlete. Upon graduation in 1952, Don joined the military service like his brothers, Bill, Bud, and Bob, before him. He served in the United States Navy during the Korean Conflict and his longest tour of duty was on the Naval Vessel Menelaus where he served 18 months at sea and according to him “I saw the world”.
Don married Virginia on January 28, 1956 and settled in Hyde Park where they resided until their move to Walpole in 1995. He began his career at Boston Edison in 1957 in the Underground Division. Don became a Union Steward in Local 369 and eventually was elected Secretary Treasurer where he served in that role for many years until he was elected Union President 1n 1980. During this time, Don earned his Labor Relations Degree at the University of Massachusetts and graduated in 1977. Don went on to serve as the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) National Vice President from 1991 to 1995 and was elected National President in 1995 where he served until his retirement in 2006.
Don served as principal negotiator in numerous collective bargaining agreements. He was a member of the Advisory Committee of the Mediation Research & Education Project at Northwestern University Law School and a member of the Labor Relations and Research Advisory Board at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Don was a Director and former Chairman of the Board of the Boston Edison Employees Credit Union and served as a Labor Representative to Jobs for Massachusetts, Inc, and served as a member of the Labor Advisory Board of American Income Life Insurance Company.
He was the recipient of the Chancellors Award from the University of Massachusetts, the Cushing-Gavin Award for excellence in Labor Relations and awarded the Gompers-Murray-Meany Award by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO in recognition of a lifetime of dedicated service in the labor movement.
Upon his retirement, Don volunteered on a full-time basis at the SHINE Center in Walpole where he helped countless seniors obtain benefits and medical assistance. Don was a wonderful Uncle and Godfather to many nieces and nephews in the extended Wightman Family as well as Friend to many more. His biggest loves were family and Country. The family would like to thank Old Colony Hospice Staff for their compassionate care. Visiting hours will be held Monday morning from 9-10:30AM at the Alexander F. Thomas & Sons Funeral Home, 45 Common Street, Walpole followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Timothy's Church, Norwood at 11AM. Interment at St. Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury, MA. Relatives and friends invited.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested contributions be made in Don’s name to Old Colony Hospice 321 Manley Street, West Bridgewater, MA 02379