George Bennett West
August 1, 1928 – April 22, 2019
A loving father, husband and friend, George Bennett West passed away April 22, 2019. He was 90 years old.
He leaves a legacy of believing in hard work, faith and family. He never let obstacles get in his way or let tragedies define who he was. He believed in perseverance and commitment and gave unconditional love to his family.
Born Aug. 1, 1928 in Deer Lodge, MT, he spent his early years in Mobridge, SD. He had a close-knit family with four sisters (Bea, Kay, Alice and Frances (Franny)) and brother, Ross. Their father worked for the Milwaukee Railroad in South Dakota and then moved the family to Auburn, WA., where, George developed a lifelong love of trains and the railroad business. George remembered Seattle as the place where he went to high school, met his first love and where he became an old soul by his 18th birthday.
He attended Lincoln High School in Seattle and met Elaine Grunden, "The Fair," a girl who he knew he was meant to spend his life with. The teenaged sweethearts married just out of high school and two months after George began his training in the U.S. Marine Corps. The war's end left George with a wife and endless opportunities to start a new life with her. He attended the University of Washington, where he majored in business. He and Elaine had three children, Michael, who died shortly after birth; Craig and Kirk, born in 1950 and 1952. But less than a year after having her second child, at the age of 24, Elaine died suddenly.
One year after his wife's passing, juggling two young children and struggling to find a job, George looked to his old college friends for support. They responded by setting him up on a blind date. The woman's name was Joan Rhodes, and it was love at first sight. Much like what George had with Elaine, he and Joan knew they were meant to be together. They soon married and had two children, Cary and Karen. Joan legally adopted Craig and Kirk.
Just one year after Karen was born, George suffered yet another tragedy when he was almost killed in a devastating car accident. The accident was so serious that first responders pronounced him dead at the scene. It took several months for him to recover from a severe brain injury.
George and his family moved from the Pacific Northwest to Los Angeles, CA, where he was recruited to Southern California Bonding Co. He later became vice president of the company. While working full time, George attended law school and later became general counsel to the same company he had helped lead for many years.
On weekends, George coached all three of his sons on baseball teams, and every Friday, he and Joan would take the kids bowling. Almost every weekend during the summer, the West family hosted pool parties at their Granada Hills home for the rest of the baseball players and their families.
The Wests were also involved in the community and helped run a soup kitchen as well as going to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church every Sunday. George even helped lead the congregation at the church.
In his younger years, he loved to ride horses, go sailing and take road trips with his family. Over the years, George's family always had dogs, including two basset hounds named Willard and Dilly (Dark Delight). After retiring from his California job, he and Joan moved back to Washington and bought a home in Poulsbo, where they lived with their dog, Charlie, and later, their cat, Tiger.
Sadly, Joan died in 2008 of bile duct cancer. George and cat, Tiger, continued to live in their Poulsbo home until March 2017 when he fell at home and suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. He was in and out of hospitals and nursing homes since then, and most recently resided at Martha & Mary in Poulsbo. He died peacefully with family members at his side.
He is survived by sons, Kirk West of Los Angeles; Cary West of Phoenix; Karen West (Mike Spence) of Bainbridge Island, WA; sister Bea Holeman of Medford, OR; nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by wives Elaine and Joan; sons, Michael and Craig; and siblings, Ross, Frances, Alice and Kay.
- Graveside Service Friday, May 17, 2019
George Bennett West
May 18, 2019
I don't have a lot of memories of Uncle George because our family (my mom Kay, his youngest sister, and dad Ray) lived overseas all of my childhood years. We did see extended family when we came back on visits every few years. I remember uncle George as a steady, calm, cheerful, interested and engaged presence at those family gatherings. As an adult, after moving back to the Seattle area, I especially remember going to uncle George and aunt Joanne's home in Poulsbo for family reunions. Our kids remember playing horse shoes and interacting with their younger 2nd cousins Elise and Falyn. Later when George and Joanne moved to their second home in Poulsbo, I remember visiting them a few times. George (and Joanne) were always so warm, welcoming and glad to see me. George came to my parents anniversary celebrations at Crista Shores in Silverdale (their 50th and 60th) and of course, came to mom's funeral and memorial service in 2014. I visited George a couple of times at his last homes at the Silverdale rehab and later Mary and Marths's care facility. He STILL seems steady, calm, cheerful, interested and engaged (even with limited cognition). I will always have tender memories of Uncle George.