Jim Wightman was born June 21, 1944 in Ottawa. After months battling a variety of medical complications, he passed peacefully February 10, 2020 at Ottawa Civic Hospital, age 75. During Jim’s hospital stay, he was visited by many close friends. He was not alone in his passing.
He was predeceased by his parents, Shell and Babs, and by younger brother Ian, with whom he shared his love of baseball and music.
Jim grew up in Manor Park, with a unique group of friends and neighbours who have remained close for a lifetime. Jim attended Ottawa’s Carlton University and in 1966 graduated with a BA in Mathematics. He joined IBM Ottawa that year and spent the next 26 in various positions such as systems engineer, marketing representative, and staff manager.
While IBM stands for International Business Machines, insiders joked it meant “I’ve Been Moved”, but Jim broke that rule by never leaving Ottawa, the city he loved. Ironically, Jim HATED IBM email and consequently never adopted the internet in any form.
Jim made many IBM friends and was no wall flower at IBM social events, whether performing on stage at the 100% Club or gathering with office folks after work at the Bibliotheque Pub. He also organized and hosted a number of major IBM sponsored events such as Harry Belafonte’s performance with the National Arts Centre Symphony. Jim retired from IBM at age 48.
JW loved sports. He was a long time member of the Rideau Tennis Club and enjoyed alpine skiing at Mont Tremblant and travelling to Europe and New Mexico with friends to brave far steeper slopes. Jim shared many great moments with his seat-mates at the Riders, REDBLACKS, Senators, Lynx, Champions and Ravens games. A very knowledgeable sports aficionado, he had encyclopedic insights into baseball. He enjoyed road trips for major league baseball to Montreal and to Florida for spring training and pro tennis. He never missed a season making friendly bets on NFL football or NCAA basketball.
Jim combined his love of travel with long term relationships with friends. In retirement, he enjoyed cruises and visits to the Greek islands and rivers in Western and Eastern Europe. He visited friends wintering in sunny Argentina taking in the sights, local restaurants and bars.
Jim also enjoyed parties. In 1977, he discovered that he shared June birthdays with two friends at IBM. There followed a total of 43 annual celebrations at Birthday sites across Canada, the USA, and in Europe.
JW had long standing friendships and one of the longest was over some 40 years with his “BIG CHILL” friends at annual New Year, Thanksgiving, Canada Day and Labour Day long weekends. Jim also liked surprising Ottawa friends by organizing luncheons in order to catch up. He appreciated ballet and family and attended annual dance recitals and Christmas productions for daughters of family. Jim was an unofficial uncle of grown CHILL children,orienting them to Ottawa’s restaurants, always with insider information. He also educated the latest CHILL grand kids about hot dogs and baseball, and got them to run the bases at Lansdowne.
Jim once said his goal was to be contemporary. He was in the know regarding local and national politics, some of the latest music, business, and local theater. He consumed newspapers voraciously, gathering national opinions on national politics as well as local opinions on national politics – an important distinction he emphasized.
Jim had a wonderful smile, a great love of a debate or a good laugh. We will miss him.
An announcement will be forthcoming about a celebration of life to be held during the last half of June.
This obituary will be posted on the Hulse, Playfair & McGarry website where people can express individual thoughts about Jim Wightman and share them with others.
Anyone interested in making a donation in memory of Jim can do so by donating to the following: