The Times West Virginian


June 11, 2014

Richard “Dick” West

On the evening of June 3, 2014, Richard “Dick” West died in Kilmarnock, Virginia, his wife of 66 years, Patricia, by his side.

Richard Eldon West was born in Fairmont on New Year’s Day, 1925, to Clint O. West and Edna Pople West. He attended the Shaw School, a one-room schoolhouse in Prickett’s Creek. He worked hard to help support his family during the lean times of the Great Depression, laboring at a dairy farm and pedaling his bicycle up and down the steep hilly streets of Fairmont as a Western Union messenger boy.

With help from his sister, Dorothea, he altered his birth certificate to get factory work and eventually join the U.S. Navy in 1943. He saw action in the South Pacific, volunteering to serve on a motor torpedo boat, P.T. Boat 454, Squadron 31, as a gunner’s mate 2/C.

His first evening home from the war he saw a beautiful young stranger in line for a movie. Thunderstruck, he turned to his buddy and said, “That’s the girl I’m going to marry!” Two years later, on Sept. 21, 1947, Patricia Ann Sidars became his bride. That year he was sworn in as a West Virginia state trooper stationed in Franklin and Philippi, where his daughter was born in 1952. He studied hard, driven by his dream of a career in government law enforcement.

In 1955 he received his badge as a U.S. Treasury Department Special Agent, Criminal Investigator, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Division. He was assigned to Charleston, where his son, Richard Scott, was born. He thrived as a “revenuer,” crisscrossing the back woods of southeastern West Virginia and later the countryside surrounding Richmond, Virginia.

He delighted his children with the bits of flora and fauna he found as he hunted the elusive deep woods’ moonshine stills. He retired in Richmond in 1975 and quickly discovered the paradise that is Middlesex County, eventually settling in Deltaville on Sturgeon Creek. He began a third career as the superintendent of the Middle Peninsula Regional Security Center in Saluda, Virginia. He retired in 1991, while building the first of two dream homes in Wake, adjacent to his daughter’s family.

Dick loved his community and was active in the Lions Club, serving as president and secretary. He fried thousands of the famous oyster sandwiches over the years. He was a charter member of The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 23, a member of the Federal Criminal Investigator’s Association, the National Association of Retired Federal Employees and was known as Big Black Cloud in the Indian Guides. He was a faithful and dependable member of Christ Church in Middlesex, serving the congregation in every way he was needed.

Dick loved his neighbors. He was never too busy or too tired to lend a hand or a tool or cash. Every fall he looked forward to treating his friends and neighbors to an oyster roast at his home. His Oysters Rutherford was legendary. Dick loved his country. He served it all his life. He was especially proud of his years in the Navy and his part in defending his country. Dick loved his home and it showed. He didn’t believe in doing any kind of work that you would not want to sign your name to with pride.

Dick loved his family. He enjoyed genealogy and was a favorite source of family history. He held his mother and his brothers and sisters close to his heart every day of his life. He loved his children and labored diligently to be a good provider. He endowed his children with a strong work ethic and a sense of duty to all things worth being and having in this life. He loved his wife. Through the tribulations of 66 years together, Patricia, his “Salty,” remained the love of his life.

Richard Eldon West was predeceased by his mother, Edna Pople West; brothers, Lewis West and John “Buck” West; and sisters, Maxine West, Christine West, Dorothea Nelson, Martha Lake and Wilma Hillberry.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia Ann Sidars West; his daughter, Jeannie Catherine West Jenkins (Larry); his son, Richard Scott West (Suzanne); his sister, Mary Belle Cassidy; and his brother, Lawrence “Bud” West (Nancy). Dick was loved by his grandchildren, Morgan Patrick Jenkins, Alanna Rhiannon Jenkins, Elora Malama West and Sabrina Lehua West, and his great-grandson, Patrick Ryan Jenkins. The sons and daughters of his brothers and sisters were very important to him, and he cared deeply for them all.

A celebration of Dick’s life will be held late this summer in Middlesex County, date and place to be announced, followed by interment of his ashes with a military honor guard at the National Cemetery in Grafton.

Tributes to Richard E. West can be made in his name to the Gloucester Mathews Humane Society.

Bristow Faulkner Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Salada, Virginia.

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