Wilbur Merwyn West

Wilbur West was born April 13, 1915 in K.C. Missouri to Harry Wilbur and Flora Grace West. He passed from this life into the eternal life promised him by his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at 12:05pm, September 7, 2014. He graduated from Wyandotte High School in 1933 and from K.C. Kansas Junior College in 1935. He graduated from Emporia State Teacher’s College in 1938 (B.A. Music Education). He received a Master’s Degree in Music Education from KU in 1954.Wilbur’s first teaching position was in Fairview from 1938-41. He taught vocal and instrumental music plus classes in social studies & psychology. He was inducted into the Army in 1941 where he played baritone horn in the 130th Field Artillery Bank, then was transferred to the Field Artillery School in Fort Sill, Oklahoma in November 1942, where he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. May 12, 1945 he retired from the Army in Longview, Texas where he was the High School Band Director and later established “West’s Melody Shop.”His musical education career continued in 1949, first in Turner, then Lexington, Missouri, and in Lawrence beginning in 1954. In Lawrence he taught stringed instruments in all Lawrence elementary schools and eventually added the LHS Orchestra. In 1959 he left music education behind and taught classroom in several grade schools and eventually West Jr. High School, from which he retired in 1975. During the period 1959-1975, he was a very successful World Book salesman and eventually a District Sales Manager.Wilbur’s love of music included playing violin in civic orchestras & ensembles, composing choral and instrumental music, church choir, and for 50 years repairing and restoring stringed instruments, including repairs for Lawrence schools for 20 years. His never ending sense of humor, wry observations, and language skills produced a broad spectrum of poetry regarding events and individuals that intersected with his walk through life.Wilbur was proceeded in death by his dear wife Alice in September 1985. He is survived by his son Robert West, daughters Marilyn Albanese and Barbara Hanna, 9 grandchildren, and 15+ great grandchildren, as well as his decade+ friendship with Marion Thilking. A “Celebration of Wilbur’s Life” will be held October 4, 2014 from 4-7 pm at Brandon Woods’ Smith Center, 4730 Brandon Woods Terrace.

3 Condolences

  1. Nancy Gallup Penland on September 12, 2014 at 11:31 am

    He was a lively, thoughtful, gracious man-
    my thoughts are with all his family and friends.

    I remember him who was always interested in people, in music, in God, and in how to help others maintain hope.

  2. Sherry Wealthall on September 13, 2014 at 12:16 am

    So very sorry for your loss. I worked at BW for several years and cleaned for Mr. West. Such a nice man.

  3. Becky Conroy on September 13, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Wilbur was one of our most dedicated volunteers when I worked with him at LMH a few years ago. Besides being caring and helpful to everyone he met, I also remember him as a talented instrument repairman who repaired donated string instruments so that needy kids could learn how to play.
    He was also a gifted poet and would write poems for friend and family’s birthdays and other special occasions. I still have his collection “People, Events, and Poems – Stories pictured in Poetry” that he compiled in 2006.
    Wilbur was a wonderful man and he helped make the world a happier place.

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