Friends of all ages from up-Island and down gathered at the Granary Gallery in West Tisbury last week for a belated 100th birthday party for longtime Vineyard resident, artist, antiques dealer, promoter of Island arts Brandon Wight. The real birthday, on May 16, was celebrated in Florida, where he now lives.

Brandy first came to the Island an infant from his birthplace in Rhode Island. From then on, with his parents Frank and Edna Wight, and his sister Dorothy, he spent childhood summers at the Matthew Hale Mayhew house on Music street in West Tisbury. (His great uncle, for whom the house was named, was a well-known West Tisbury wagon painter.)

Brandy was a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, class of 1937, and, in World War II was with the Army Engineers in the Pacific, where he received a special citation for heroism on Saipan. After the war, he worked briefly with the Baker Furniture Company and Lord and Taylor in New York. His heart, however, was always on the Vineyard, and he moved year-round to the family house in West Tisbury in 1954 with his companion, the late George Bigelow. Together, they opened the Flea Market — an antiques boutique and art gallery in Edgartown. In 1960 they moved the store to Vineyard Haven. There, they sold antiques and the work of such Island artists as Virginia Packard, Michael O’Shaughnnesy and Harry Cummins, sculptor Patrick Farrow and photographer Michael Zide, as well as New Yorker original art.

At the time, there were relatively few art galleries on the Vineyard. After the 1964 death of George Bigelow, Bruce Blackwell, who had come to the Vineyard from Rhode Island to be the executive director of the Vineyard Conservation Society, became Brandy’s partner. Like Brandy, he had a strong predilection for the arts and an eye for art and antiques. Both socialized with enthusiasm and charm with their patrons.

In those halcyon Vineyard Haven days, the patrons included the actress Katharine Cornell and her companion, Nancy Hamilton who had a home on Lake Tashmoo, actor James Cagney, who was a gentleman farmer in Chilmark, writers John Hersey and Lillian Hellman and television broadcaster Mike Wallace, all of whom summered in Vineyard Haven, and television broadcaster Walter Cronkite of Edgartown. By this time, Brandy and Bruce (whom friends frequently referred to as The Fleas because of the name of their store) had built a home at Mink Meadows on West Chop. Fond as Brandy was of West Tisbury, living in Vineyard Haven was more convenient since it was the site of their store.

In 1977, they bought The Red Barn Emporium, then a tack shop and today the Granary Gallery. It was back in Brandy’s family town of West Tisbury. They built an apartment above it and sold their Mink Meadows house.

At the Red Barn there was more space for displaying their antiques and art, and more room for parking. They also began attracting such up-Island clientele as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach and U.S. Secretary of Defense Cyrus Vance, singers James Taylor and Carly Simon and New York Times editorial page editor John B. Oakes. They also began showing the work of Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, who summered at Menemsha, and Alison Shaw of Oak Bluffs. Their antique quilts were a favorite with Lady Bird Johnson when she became a Vineyard Haven summer visitor; she liked to throw them over hay bales for outdoor gatherings at the Johnson family ranch in Texas, she told Brandy and Bruce.

When President Bill Clinton and his family became summer visitors, they discovered the Granary Gallery, and came to pose for Eisenstaedt photographs there. Brandy and Bruce remember outwitting the Secret Service on a Clinton family visit. The coffee the pair were serving to the First Family had been tested by the Secret Service for safety sake before the Clintons arrived. There were neighborhood children who liked to serve lemonade in the parking lot. Bruce suggested that they be outside at the time the Clintons would be leaving.

“I just knew the President would stop and buy lemonade from them and it would be a perfect photo op,” Bruce recalled. “And sure enough he did, and the Secret Service men were furious!”

In later days, on Washington visits, Brandy and Bruce were invited to the Oval Office and the living quarters by the President they had befriended. On one occasion, they presented President Clinton with a circa 1800 copy of the Declaration of Independence which they had. It now hangs in the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Ark.

In a summery seersucker suit and sporting a Peter Max tie, Brandy, though now in a wheelchair, greeted well-wishers in the gallery they had founded. Hosting the centennial birthday celebration was the gallery’s present owner Chris Morse, whom Brandy and Bruce had hired in 1987 to work for them.

Brandy happily reminisced about his many long and happy Vineyard years. Though he and Bruce have made Florida their year-round home, they remain deeply attached to the Vineyard. In 2004, when same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts, they chose to take their wedding vows on the Island, marking the occasion with Cheryl Stark-designed wedding bands.