Rex Crighton, a pioneer land developer and realtor in the Cayman Islands, died on Monday. He was 81.
After going to sea for eight years, Mr. Crighton returned to Cayman and eventually founded the real estate company Crighton Properties Ltd., which has sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of properties over the years.
He was also one of the first Caymanian property developers. In the mid-1960s, Mr. Crighton teamed up with his childhood friend, James M. Bodden, and formed Bodden Crighton Development Ltd., which developed a large subdivision of house lots known as Prospect Park. The two collaborated on other subdivisions after that, but eventually Mr. Crighton broke off and did developments on his own, including Savannah Meadows, Savannah Acres, Beach Bay Heights, Beach Bay Glades, The Cays at Rum Pointe, Lalique Pointe and Crystal Harbour.
Other business interests he was involved in over the years included Crewe Road Tile & Building Material, Caribbean Furniture Co., Caribbean Motors and Sun Isle Insurance Co. He was also Cayman’s most prominent auctioneer for many years.
Mr. Crighton was a past president of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Central and was a founding member of the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association. In 1995, he was awarded the CIREBA award for Outstanding and Dedicated Contributions to Real Estate Development in the Cayman Islands.
He served on several government boards over the years, and he was a justice of the peace and a member of Cayman’s Special Police Constabulary.
In 2008, Mr. Crighton was awarded an MBE for his contributions to charity and development in the Cayman Islands. He handed over the day-to-day operations of Crighton Properties and the development businesses to his son Dale in 1997.
Mr. Crighton remained well known for the elaborate Christmas decorations that adorned his home and yard in Spotts. The tradition started simply in the 1970s, but expanded over the years with additional lights and about two dozen Christmas-themed scenes with animated figurines. The annual display took a crew of eight to 10 people six to eight weeks to put up, with an annual cost, including electricity, of tens of thousands of dollars.
Until suffering from ill health in recent years, Mr. Crighton would greet guests walking through his yard to see the decorations and give candies to the children – and even to adults.
Mr. Crighton is survived by his wife Cecile, son Dale and daughters Thora and Tammy.
His funeral service will be held at the Church of God Chapel on Walkers Road at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26.*
*This article has been amended to correct the name of the church at which the funeral service will be held.