William Bartlett West (Bill) was born in Livingston, Montana to Walter and Ethyl (Siderius) West on December 25, 1933. He passed away in Livingston on January 26, 2024, at the age of 90. He grew up in Livingston where he attended school, went to church, and got into trouble. He went to West Side Elementary School and was a member of the Lincoln Orchestra, Lincoln Band, and Glee Club starting in 3rd grade. He loved reading, hunting, fishing, his pets, and photography to include developing his own film and photos. In 8th grade Bill wrote a paper stating that he either wanted to be a farmer or a chemist. He chose chemistry and went to Montana State University (MSU) where he graduated as a chemical engineer. While at MSU he worked summers at Yellowstone National Park. One of his favorite stories from Yellowstone was when he and a co-worker found an old steering wheel that they put on the end of a pipe. They took it and put it in the ground near the Old Faithful geyser. As the time approached for the geyser to erupt, Bill and his co-workers would turn the wheel and then turn it again as the eruption ended, leaving tourists with the idea that they were turning Old Faithful on and off. This time at Yellowstone allowed him to stay connected with the great outdoors.
Bill started work for Crown Zellerbach Corporation, a pulp and paper company, after college and moved to Camas, Washington. Shortly after that he married and then was called to duty with the Army. He attended basic training at Fort Ord, California. He then became a chemical specialist at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah. He served out his Army time in the Army Reserve with a focus on chemical weapons. He spent the rest of his civilian career in the pulp and paper business until his retirement in the early 1990s from Simpson Paper in Eureka, California. Bill was named on a patent for Crown Zellerbach for medium consistency refining (a way to make newsprint).
Outside of work Bill loved art, restoring cars, Corvettes, hiking, nature, theater, travel, and his family. The pinnacle pieces of his collection were his 1956 Corvette convertible and his Hobart Brown sculpture ‘The Gunfighter’ (a 7 ½ foot tall bronze statue). He also indulged in several paintings by local artists.
Bill traveled the world throughout his life including such places as New Zealand, Japan, Europe, South and Central Americas, the South Pacific, and other stops in Asia. His last trip was to Ecuador with his good friend, Janet. His love of travel started young when his family went back to the east coast to visit Rhode Island where his father was born. He wrote of a trip on an ocean liner as a young child.
Bill had a great love for theater. His favorite role was Lazer Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof which he performed with North Coast Repertory in Eureka, California. He was a great singer and could whistle like no other. He also formed a team from the Simpson Pulp Mill to compete in the infamous Kinetic Sculpture Race (https://kineticgrandchampionship.com/) while writing and singing ballads throughout the process. He also wrote songs for family and family reunions. He was always quick with a guitar to sing out a funny tune.
He was very loved and will be greatly missed.
Bill is survived by his two children, Zac West (Janet) and Julie Ogles (Gary), as well as seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers. The family will have a private ceremony for him this summer in the Crazy Mountains.
Bill loved animals. When his cat Blacky passed a few years ago, he was devastated but would not let Zac bring him another cat. If you would like to make a donation in his memory, please do so to the Colville Valley Animal Sanctuary (www.cvasanctuary.org), a nonprofit animal shelter that Zac and Janet support, or to a local no-kill shelter near you.