Robert (Bob) L. West, an Area Resident, Dies at 87
Robert (Bob) L. West, 87, passed away at home with his family close by, on July 8, 2017. He was born in Peekskill, NY in 1929 to the late Maude (neé Townsend) and Robert West, where he graduated from Peekskill High School. After receiving a BS in Electrical Engineering from Union College in Schenectady in 1951, Bob was employed by IBM and soon thereafter met and married his first wife, Sue, with whom he had three daughters. Although an almost lifelong resident of the Hudson Valley, he and his family lived for several years in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, where Bob completed coursework for a PhD.
Bob devoted his professional life to IBM, working on the development of many early computer systems, including those with medical and aeronautical applications, until his retirement in 1991.
Nettie (neé Ruland), a musician and teacher of violin and piano, entered and blessed Bob’s life in 1981, commencing a nearly 36 year-long friendship and marriage. They resided primarily in LaGrangeville, NY, but spent considerable—and cherished-- time at their second home in Oak Bluffs in Martha’s Vineyard. A shared and deep love of classical music, a commitment to the Bulls Head--Oswego Friends Meeting where they worshiped and served for decades, an interest in seeing the world and delight in their families joined them over the long and happy course of their life together.
Bob and Nettie gave of both time and resources to causes that mattered to them, volunteering with a Quaker group at Green Haven Correctional Facility for many years and donating with regularity and generosity to those organizations they believed could contribute to a more compassionate and just world.
Bob was an outdoorsman who loved to hike, backpack and canoe in his younger days. When he became a father, these passions adapted to family life and he devoted more time to pursuits closer to home. He passed many a peaceful afternoon fishing with his father, both in New York and later during memorable trips to Canada. Family camping and cycling were avocations for many years. He was an avid and very talented photographer who taught the subject as well as practicing it. The arts gave meaning to his life and he gave much of his life to them. A voracious reader with a wide-ranging library, Bob was also an opera enthusiast and a devotee of the ballet. He served as the President of the Board of Directors of The Poughkeepsie Ballet Theater for a number of years as well as being the company’s official photographer.
Bob is survived by his wife Nettie, a younger brother, Jim, of Clermont, FL, his three daughters: Laurel, Katie and Elizabeth; Nettie’s three children: Russ, John and Christie; and a plethora of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A Memorial Meeting will be scheduled in the future, to be held at the Bulls Head--Oswego Friends Meeting. Donations in Bob’s honor can be made, in lieu of flowers, to The International Rescue Committee (www.rescue.org).