Arnold Light, chairman of Ridgefield’s Economic and Community Development Commission, passed away unexpectedly Thursday night, Sept. 19.

Light was the founder and CEO of The Light Group, Inc., a New York-based incentive marketing organization specializing in reward marketing, communications, incentive travel, meeting planning, special events and online loyalty programs. After retiring, he also founded the consulting firm, Arnold Light Consults, Inc., that worked with corporations to help them to structure and design B2B and B2C results-oriented performance improvement programs.

In Ridgefield, he was a member of the Ridgefield Men’s Club, served on the executive committee of the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce, and was a frequent golfer at the Ridgefield Golf Course.

“It was very unexpected, a shock,” said Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi on Friday, Sept. 20. “He had just played a round of golf on Thursday. He absolutely loved the game and spent many hours at our local golf course.”

Marconi said he enjoyed playing with Light at the course over the years.

“The game that he loved was golf,” the first selectman said. “Any time that was available, he played.”

Away from the course, Light’s other big passion was economic development in Ridgefield.

He was chair of Economic and Community Development Commission (ECDC) for the last six years after joining in 2011.

“He helped lead one of the best ECDC’s we’ve ever had in Ridgefield,” Marconi said. “He supported a lot of ideas and concepts that set out to improve Ridgefield’s nonresidential tax base, and he really promoted them.”

Most importantly, he listened to the people who came to him with ideas, Marconi said.

“He was a kind, compassionate, and understanding individual,” Marconi said. “He was a great listener. We’re very fortunate as a municipality to have someone like Arnold Light because he cared.”

Wayne Addessi, owner of Addessi Jewelers on Main Street, worked alongside Light on several economic development projects.

Addessi recalled Light’s early support of inRidgefield, a re-branding concept that aims to make Ridgefield a tourist destination.

“Arnold loved Ridgefield and realized the many great assets we have here and also recognized the amazing value in telling the story of Ridgefield through a professional marketiing effort launched last year,” Addessi said. “He was an early and immediate strategist along side of me and was instrumental in launching what is now inRidgefield.com.”

Addessi said he had great admiration for Light.

“He will leave a great void in the organizations he helped lead,” he said.

Geoffrey Morris, president of TownVibe Media and ECDC member, realled Light’s leadershp in restructuring of the commission “to its current vital role as both an economic and community development arm of the town.”

“Arnold was a dedicated and compassionate volunteer and will be greatly missed,” Morris said. “We send our condolences to his wife Nilda.”