The Rev. William Henry West, of Old Saybrook, died peacefully at the Connecticut Hospice in Branford, on Thursday, August 26, after a long and valiant struggle with cancer. Rev. West was predeceased by his parents and his wife, Margaret. He is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth, and grandsons, Theo and Quinten Ewasko of Newtown, CT; and his brother, Robert, and sister-in-law Gail of Farmington, CT.
He was the eldest son of William West, Jr, and Ruth Banford West of Manhasset, NY. He graduated from Manhasset High School, was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree from Alfred University in l967, and earned a Masters of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological Seminary in Newton Center, MA.
He began his work as a student minister at West Parish Church in Andover, MA, and served as an assistant minister at the Greens Farms Congregational Church in Westport, CT. He served several years as the director of the Youth Services Commission in Westport, a board of adults and students that seeks to accommodate the needs of young people in the community. For a number of years, Bill worked in the private sector, owning and operating his own business, Custom Printing and Graphics. Ultimately, he gravitated toward organizations that served the interests of the disenfranchised and the needy. He worked for the United Way and Literacy Volunteers of America. Focusing on the needs of the residents of the inner city, Bill volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and Operation Hope of Fairfield and Bridgeport.
Ultimately, he returned to his real passion, working one-on-one with individuals in need. After earning certification as a chaplain from Hartford Seminary, he served as a protestant chaplain, first at St Francis Hospital in Hartford and then at Saint Raphael’s in New Haven. In addition to his duties as a chaplain, he counseled men suffering from drug and alcohol addiction at the Relapse Prevention Program at Chapel Street in New Haven. He retired in 2018.
If his legacy is his unswerving commitment to others, Bill will also be remembered and cherished for his smile, his welcoming demeanor, and his compassion. Both patients and staff at St Raphael’s and Yale-New Haven repeatedly cited his very presence as comforting. He loved his work even as he was loved by those he served and those with whom he worked.
A service in his memory will be held at the First Congregational Church, 1 Church Street, Deep River, CT 06417, on September 25, at 1 pm. In lieu of flowers, the following organizations were near and dear to Bill’s heart. Donations can be sent to: Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital’s Closer to Free Program, at yalecancercenter.org/gifts, or mail to Office of Development, PO Box 1849, New Haven CT 06508; First Church Congregational in Deep River, at deeprivercc.org, or mail to DRCC, PO Box 246, Deep River CT 06417; or Dylan’s Wings of Change “Wingman Program,” at dylanswingsofchange.org/donate, or mail to Dylan’s Wings of Change PO Box 3489, Newtown CT 06470.