Bernard E. Wight (“Barney”) was born on September 26, 1922, to Harry M. Wight and Gladys M. (Simpson) Wight in Webster Township, Madison County, Iowa, the oldest of 4 children. He died on February 3, 2018 following a short illness under the care of HCI Care Services at QHC Winterset North Care Center at the age of 95.
Barney graduated from Winterset High School in 1940 and attended Iowa State College (now ISU). During WWII he served his country by enlisting in the United States Coast Guard. After he was discharged in March of 1946, he returned to Winterset and married Frances E. Reimann of Jefferson Township, Madison County in April of 1946. Using the skills learned in the Coast Guard as a “motor mac” he became a business man in Winterset by leasing the Mobil Service Station a block north of the square in March of 1947. Eventually in 1962, he formed a partnership, Wight and Short Mobil and Farm Bulk Delivery, with Willard Short. When Mobil left Iowa, Barney and Willard built the Phillips 66 station on the north edge of Winterset, a growing area of town that enhanced the attraction of Winterset and it’s beautiful downtown. Both locations afforded Barney the opportunity to sometimes be the first person strangers might come in contact with and he always “promoted” Winterset. Upon retirement in 1987, Barney said, “It was fun to go to work. When it is cold, I do not miss the work, but I will always miss the people.”
As a lifelong resident of Madison County, Barney felt it was a privilege and a joy to give back with his time and talents. He served as a city councilman for Winterset (4 years), on the board of Madison County Memorial Hospital (8 years), the Lakeview Country Club board (3 years), and the Winterset Community School District (9 years). He was a member of the Winterset United Methodist Church and sang in choir for many years. Membership in the local Lions Club International was both fun and work and he was a life and charter member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8142 and a life member of American Legion Post 184. In 1998, Barney received the “Citizen of the Year” award from the Madison County Chamber of Commerce.
Love of family was key for Barney. Barney and Frances traveled to 48 of the 50 states. They both had a love of nature and enjoyed walking in many parks in the United States. He once told a reporter, “…my work was my hobby, so I have no others.” But he had many interests including reading, watching sports (basketball and football), listening to music, and travel. Barney volunteered at the Madison County Historical Society. He enjoyed greeting visitors at the welcome desk in the museum and especially liked leading tours of the Bevington Mansion.
Bernard is survived by a daughter, Cristal Smith (Murray) of North Fort Myers, FL, son, H. Mark Wight (Jennifer) of Springfield, IL, daughter in law, Jane Wight of Winterset, sister in law, Kay Jamison (Fran) of Waukee, sister in law, Reva Reimann of Winterset, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Frances E. Wight, son, Noel B. Wight, parents, and sisters, Doris Alexander (Curtis), Marjorie Wohlwend (Joe), and Norma Greenwood.
A memorial and burial at Winterset Cemetery will be held at a later date. Condolences may be sent to the family in care of Ochiltree Funeral Service, Box 261, Winterset 50273. Memorials may be directed to the First United Methodist Church, 309 E. Jefferson, Winterset 50273, HCI Care Services, 3000 Easton Boulevard, Des Moines 50317 or 715 W. McLane, Osceola 50213, or Madison County Historical Society, 815 South Second Ave., Winterset 50273.