Lawrence E. Dwight, Jr., 54, fondly known as “J”, died unexpectedly on Monday, May 14 at his home in Wilton, Maine.
A columnist for the Sun Journal and The Maine Wire, Dwight was well known for his passion, his intelligence and his persistence in digging through obscure regulations, complicated financial filings and other enigmatic documents to uncover the truth on many issues.
A staunch opponent of industrial wind power in Maine’s mountains, Dwight was a founder of Citizen’s Task Force on Wind Power. He served on the board of advisers for The Maine Heritage Policy Center and on the Economic Forecasting Committee for the LePage administration.
“J was a dear friend of MHPC, to our organization and to all of us personally,” said Lance Dutson, chief executive officer of The Maine Heritage Policy Center.
“He was a champion for liberty and prosperity in our state, and his work over the years has helped make Maine a better place for all of us,” Dutson said. “We will miss him terribly.”
J Dwight was born on December 29, 1957 in Ithaca, N.Y. He grew up in Longmeadow Mass., graduating from Longmeadow High School in 1976. After graduating from UMass-Amherst with a degree in Business Administration in 1981, he began a successful career as a stockbroker.
He resided in Kennebunk, Maine for many years while working in Portland. Most recently, he was a successful private investment advisor at his own business, Dwight Investment Council in Wilton, Maine. He and his wife owned Broadwing Farm in Wilton.
Dwight served on the Wilton Finance Committee and was active in the Wilton Republican and Franklin County Republican Committees. A former president of the Rachel Carson Natural Wildlife Preserve, he was a former board member of Maine Audubon Society and former president of Kennebunk Land Trust.
An avid and expert bird watcher, Dwight loved traveling around the state and beyond to see rare and elusive “life birds.” He enjoyed participating in annual bird counts, owl walks at dawn, guiding bird watching trips and the beauty of the hawk migration. Close friends and family fondly called him a “bird nerd” because of his passionate pursuit of this popular past-time, but he was always the first person we consulted with when we came upon a bird no one recognized.
He is survived by his parents Lawrence E. “Larry” and Rae (Hehl) Dwight of Kennebunk; and his wife Adrienne Neary of Wilton; his children, who were the center of his world and the light of his life, Lance E Dwight III and Avonlea H. Dwight. He is also survived by a brother, Timothy Dwight and his wife, Devorah of Amesbury, Mass. and their two children; and two sisters, Deb Kelley and her husband Joe of Shoreham Vermont, and their two children; and Louise Spang and her husband Timothy of Kennebunkport, and their two children.
J’s son Lance wanted to share this dear memory: “My dad had a big heart and many people were in it. He gave a lot of love and asked for little back. He loved nothing more than making me and my sister laugh and we spent a lot of time at Parsons Beach in Kennebunk, Maine. In my fondest memory at the beach, he would wade into the ocean with me on his back to find the right wave to ride in. When the perfect wave came he would yell, “hold your breath” while I held tight onto his shoulders and we would dive with the crashing wave and ride her all the way in.”
Family and friends are invited to call at the Wiles Remembrance Center, 136 High St., Wilton on Sunday, May 20 from 1 to 3 p.m. Public memorial services and celebration of J’s life will be held on Friday morning June 1, 2012 at 11 a.m. at St. David’s Episcopal Church, Kennebunk. A reception will follow at Riverhurst Farm in Kennebunk.
Remembrance gifts may be given to the Kennebunk Free Library, 112 Main St., Kennebunk, ME 04043. Private family committal services will be held at a later date at the Hope Cemetery in Kennebunk. Tributes and condolences may be shared on his memorial wall at www.wilesrc.com.
The Man with Pink Hair
Mary Adams of Garland, a well-known conservative grassroots activist and friend of J Dwight, wrote this in his memory.
Every Sunday worshipers in our church in Dover-Foxcroft are treated to the most wonderful choir. Outstanding in that group of singers is a young woman with bright pink hair. It’s a delight to have her in the choir.
The shades of pink are always changing, and the contrast of her pinkness with the grayness, blackness, whiteness, brownness and blondness of the other singers makes her a welcome standout from the ordinary. At first blush, she was a rather startling sight. But now if she decided to become like the rest of us, I would consider it a loss to the Sunday service.
On Monday afternoon, we lost a standout from our group of friends. J Dwight didn’t have a different hair color from the rest of us, but he was by personality far more colorful than most. His voice blended beautifully with the rest of our chorus, and yet he often broke from the choir to sing his own solo, or duet, as a descant to the conservative melody we all share.
He loved being with us, and in between meetings he would often call with news of his discoveries, advising us of new projects. He supplied the exciting counter-harmonics and key changes which make any group—or choir—more stirring and exciting.
I will miss this warm, traditional, bold, intellectually curious friend who loved to analyze, to collaborate, to examine, to share.
Now when I see the girl with pink hair on Sundays, or when I see anyone who passionately stands for examined truth and the cause of liberty, I’ll think of J.
After the healing passage of time, I hope that will be his legacy passed down to his son and daughter, his future grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Because one day the music will stop for each of us, and when it does, it would be a source of comfort to be remembered for such time-honored and everlasting gifts as these.