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Shirle Nesbitt Westwater

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Westwater Shirle Nesbitt Westwater, died peacefully at her home in Gulf Stream Florida on March 8, 2014. She was born September 1, 1918 in Columbus to Hazel (Zeller) and Hugh Emory Nesbitt who predeceased her. Shirle was also predeceased by her loving husband, William King Westwater, her brother David, and her son William Marc Westwater. Shirle Westwater is survived by her daughter, Angela King Westwater, and her husband, David Meitus of New York; her son, Hugh Nesbitt Westwater and friend, Marcia Smilack of Columbus; her daughter, Cordelia Westwater Robinson, and her husband, Grant Morrow of Columbus; and her daughter-in-law, Lisa Miller Westwater of Gahanna. Seven grandchildren also survive her: Natasha W. Wolff; Brian C. Westwater and his wife Leah; Ann N. Westwater and her fiance' Cormac Eubanks; Hugh C. Robinson; Amy F. Sullivan and her husband Glen; Harrison N. Westwater and his wife Tiffany; and William H. Westwater. Great grandchildren are Blake and Mari Westwater; Emma and Marc Sullivan. She is also survived by her cousins, Anne Zeller Robbins of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Barbara Gardiner of Columbus and most significantly her West Highland Terrier Desmond. Shirle is also survived by her dear and life-long friends, Libby Ross, Betty Custer, Bill MacDonald, Donald Dunn and Bea Appleton. Shirle Nesbitt grew up on Yorkshire Road in Upper Arlington, attended the progressive University School at Ohio State University and graduated in 1936 from Columbus School for Girls. She continued her education at Webber College in Boston and received a BA degree from Sarah Lawrence College. A member of the River Ridge Women's Riding Club, she played on the polo team, riding her favorite horse Colonel. She recalled that the team looked good on their mounts and practiced well but never won a match. At a holiday party in 1937, she met the man of her life, William King Westwater of Bexley, whom she married in December, 1939. Through her father, Hugh Emory Nesbitt, she became devoted to Hio State University sports, particularly football. At the age of three Shirle attended her first OSU football game at the North Field before the Stadium (Horeshoe) was built. Over her lifetime she attended more than 350 football games. The last game she attended was at the age of 91. The family support of the University continued with the Hugh E. Nesbitt Memorial Scholarship Fund, the William K. Westwater Medical Research Fund and the Woody Hayes Athletic Center Renovation Project. Many organizations in central Ohio benefitted from Shirle's grace and compassionate leadership. Her sense of community service was inspired by her father as well as her husband's family commitments, particularly the Columbus Foundation, which her father helped establish in 1943. Hugh Emory Nesbitt and Harrison Sayre (the grandfather of Lisa Miller Westwater) were two of the five original governing committee members. Shirle was particularly proud of this association, serving on the governing committee for ten years and as chairman for two years. While chairman, the Foundation moved to the old Governor's Mansion on East Broad Street and the Trilogy Fund for the arts was initiated raising over $25 million dollars. Shirle joined the Junior League at the age of 21, was elected president for two years, and started the "Bargain Box", a successful money raising event. She was the first woman to be elected to the board of the Columbus Museum of Art, during which time she initiated the idea of a Women's Board. In the first six months, the group grew to over 100 members. The Women's Board created the Show House project raising more than a million dollars for the museum. Shirle was a member of the Christian Science Church and worked to help establish Glenmont, a nursing and retirement home in Hilliard. An active gardener, she was a member of Mary Ritter Garden Club. Her community service extended to the boards of the Columbus School for Girls, the Columbus Academy, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Franklin University, the Ohio State University Development Fund and the Julian Marcus Senior Citizens Placement Bureau. Shirle and Bill Westwater traveled extensively with their lifelong friends Libby and Dick Ross, Frannie and Chuck Lazarus, John G. and Jeanne McCoy, Tally and Ione Krumm, among others. Shirle had homes in Gulf Stream Florida, Columbus, Ohio and Harbor Point, Harbor Springs, Michigan. She enjoyed her many friends, clubs, and especially the Little Club, Rocky Fork Hunt and Country Club and The Little Harbor Club. The family extends great gratitude to Mrs. Westwater's caregivers, Jannetta Day, Jackie Brooks, Marjorie Rankine, Chris Bennett, Diane Dwyer, Rosalyn Gardner and Carol Alexander-Morgan; Brad Tingley, Michelle and Jodi of Whiskers n'Tails, Alveta White, Lee Kelly and Crystal Fauver of Columbus; Michelle Hay, Teresa Pettway and Beverly James of Florida; the staff of the Harbor Point Association and the staff of the Ballantrae Association; Doug MacLeod of the Westwater Company, Jim Patrick Luyster and his wife Dannell Paolucci of Alexandira, OH.; Steven Salt, C.S.B.; Visiting Private Duty Nurses; and Hospice of Palm Beach. There will be a private grave side service. A celebration of Shirle's life will be held during the spring. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Columbus Museum of Art, 480 E. Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215-9605, the Little Traverse Conservancy, 3264 Powell Rd., Harbor Springs, MI 49740-9469 or the Columbus Foundation, Nesbitt-Westwater Fund, 1234 E. Broad Street, Columbus OH 43205-1453.

Published in The Columbus Dispatch from Mar. 12 to Mar. 13, 2014
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