The Community of Newton Stewart was saddened to learn of the death of Archibald Wilson Plunkett. Archie was the second youngest of the six sons of Alexander and Jane Plunkett. He was born in Newton Stewart in 1918. During the Great Depression, when Archie was four, his two eldest brothers, Wilson and Bertie, left for New Zealand. They established themselves there, never returning, and he never saw them again. Archie was educated at Penninghame Public School and the Douglas Ewart High School. He was a dedicated student, skilled violinist, accomplished athlete and rugby player. As a child he lost the sight of one eye in an accident.
On leaving school, Archie worked for Sir Herbert Maxwell at Monreith Estate office, cycling there daily. He then took a position as reporter with the Galloway Gazette. Before the outbreak of the Second World War he volunteered for the Territorial Army. He was called up on the first day, serving in the KOSBs. His five brothers also served in the British and Commonwealth forces and all survived. Archie’s sharp mind was put to good use at regimental HQ under the Earl of Galloway. During the war his hearing was damaged when he was blown from his bunk by a German bomb. Archie’s remaining eyesight deteriorated and he was invalided out of the Army.
Until 1974 he worked in the family business with his brothers, Ronnie and Davie. The family ran a fish and game dealing business. The work was ruled by the seasons and the tides. It was hard and often involved long, antisocial hours.
He married his first wife, Annie, and their son Alex was born in 1950. Sadly, Annie died in 1955. In 1958 he married his second wife, Agnes (Nan), and they were blessed with two more sons, Wilson and Archie.
Archie was a well-known figure in Newton Stewart. He spent many years during the 1960s and 1970s serving the local community in local government. He was elected town and county councillor, baillie, and finally provost. After council reorganisation, he was elected with large majorities to represent the town as both district and regional councillor. He worked hard on projects such as the bypass, Newton Stewart swimming pool and improvements to DEHS. He was known by many on the council as Mr Newton Stewart. Archie was also involved in the Rotary Club and was appointed an elder of Penninghame St John’s Church. He was heavily involved in the Galloway Pageant.
Archie was a devoted family man and always took a keen interest in his extended family. He was a great source of encouragement and took a particular interest in the education of his six grandchildren: Emily, Rebecca, Graeme, Tracey, Charlotte and Suzi. In 1997 he lost Nan after nearly 40 years of happy marriage. Archie coped admirably with adversity throughout his life, with disability, poor health and loss. He was a fine example to all. Archie had an excellent sense of humour and always enjoyed practical jokes. At all stages in his life he was strong willed with an independent streak.
Archie was much loved and respected by his large extended family and many friends. In his later years, he received excellent care from the local health team. He died peacefully after a short illness, at home, in his 95th year. Archie is survived by three sons, six grandchildren and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.