Walking On -- Wesley "Buddy" West

10.11.2017 Dean Rhodes Walking On

Wesley “Buddy” West

Oct. 1, 1942 – Oct. 7, 2017

Grand Ronde Tribal Elder Wesley “Buddy” Wheaton West walked on Saturday, Oct. 7, at his home in Grand Ronde surrounded by family.

Wesley was born Oct. 1, 1942, to Wesley West and Marion Haller-Davidson. He is survived by his wife, Delores “Dee” West; daughter, Kathy Miller of Bellevue, Neb.; granddaughter, Jamie Miller; sisters, Joyce Dehart of Independence, Ore., Jean Turman of Spokane, Wash., June Olson of Happy Valley, Ore., Judith Meyer of Grand Ronde, Ore., and Joannie West of Chewelah, Wash.; brother, Wilbur West of Monmouth, Ore.; stepsons, Ron Wheeler of San Jose, Calif., Thomas Mitchell of Hubbard, Ore., and Roger Mitchell of Colorado; and most recently he was blessed with a great-grandson, Jase Steinspring.

Wesley grew up in a large Tribal family and is also survived by many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Wesley was preceded in death by his parents, Wesley West and Marion Haller-Davidson, as well as stepfather Damon Davidson; daughters, Misty Kay West and Shelly Kay West; sister, Janice; brother, Wallace “Wally” Ward West; and stepson, Dennis Mitchell.

Wesley grew up in ODell, Ore., and joined the Army after graduating from Wy’East High School in 1960. He was deployed to Vietnam where he served three tours of duty with the 101st Airborne Division and was wounded. He received many high military service and combat honors, including the National Defense Service medal and Vietnam Service medal with two Bronze Stars. He served in the Army for more than 20 years, including as a military policeman and a recruiter, and was stationed in a number of countries during those years.

After retiring from the military, Wesley and his family lived in Nebraska where he started his own mobile home repair business, becoming very skilled in heating and electrical repair. In his life Wesley also worked as an educator and, among other things, helped members of the Sioux Tribe earn their GED. He owned other businesses and also lived in Georgia and Alabama before returning home to Oregon in 1996.

Wesley settled in Sheridan to be close to the Tribe and it was there he met his wife, Dee. The two were married in 1999. Wesley and Dee were devoted to each other and did most everything together.

After returning home, Wesley found a new calling in public service and spent most of his time in Grand Ronde. In 2004, Wesley was elected to Tribal Council and served for one term. He was passionate about economic development, Tribal housing and programs for Elders and veterans. In his life, he often said he was most proud of the things he helped accomplish for his people during the years he served on Tribal Council, and was very humbled that Tribal members trusted him with that honor.

After serving on Tribal Council, Wesley ran for a seat in the Oregon Legislature, and although he didn’t win that election he never lost interest in state and local politics.

Wesley enjoyed family and Tribal gatherings, attending church, and old-time country and gospel music. He had a wonderful voice and when she was alive often sang with his mother, Mary. He enjoyed making and selling Tribal-inspired arts and crafts, including cradleboards and pipes. One of Wesley’s favorite pastimes was just talking with people at Tribal events.

Funeral services will be held at the Grand Ronde Tribal gym at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16, followed by a potlatch gathering at the Tribal Elder's meal site.

Rather than flowers, family would like friends and relatives to consider giving a donation to cancer research.