Supported by more than five decades of professional experience, Judith A. Wightman has been designated as the historian of the Town of Avoca, a village located in upstate New York, since 2010. Involved in the crafts business from 1993 to 2005, she previously found success at the Avoca Insurance Agency from 1971 to 1992. Ms. Wightman began her career as a secretary between 1965 and 1970, and a town clerk from 1970 until 1971.
Ms. Wightman became involved in her profession because people from the town felt the previous historian was not doing his job well. She was further encouraged by several others to apply for the position and later accepted the entry position as an assistant to the historian. Moreover, she became the top historian of the Town of Avoca. Additionally, Ms. Wightman was interested in the community planning of the town.
The career highlight that stood out for Ms. Wightman the most was being able to write books, and include all the information for the locals of the town to obtain and learn from. When she first worked at the museum, the former historian had all the information in file cabinets and separate folders, and she created albums of the files for people to retrieve information from each area. Also passionate about genealogy, Ms. Wightman was happy to have provided references to individuals who sought out their ancestry in the Town of Avoca.
With a plethora of knowledge at her disposal, she authored “Avoca: The Early Years” and “Avoca: Beyond the Early Years.” Notably, Ms. Wightman was bestowed with an award from the Historical Society Board. Passionate in her efforts to help others learn, Ms. Wightman attributes her career success to her fascination with reading history.
In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, interacting with wildlife, and arts and crafts, as well as participating in construction and restoration projects. When Ms. Wightman’s husband built their first home in 1967, he had torn down a couple of houses and used the lumber to create their home. They lived there for 20 years and they decided to purchase some land in the countryside, where he eventually built a dome. He tore down what was left from the Presbyterian Church to complete the dome.
Looking toward the future, Ms. Wightman intends to continue serving as Avoca’s town historian and to record information for future generations. She has been married to her husband since 1965 and together, they are the proud parents of two children, through whom they have four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.