Col. Marcus C. West, USAF Ret., of Yankeetown, Florida, died June 16, 2014. He was 93. Mr. West was born in Greenville, South Carolina, the son of B. F. and Marie West. In World War II, Col. West delivered bombers to England in the Ferry Command, and was selected for pilot training with the U.S. Navy. One of only 100 Army pilots, Col. West received Naval aviator wings after completing the program at Pensacola. For the duration of World War II he trained other pilots to fly air-sea rescue in Hawaii. In 1948 he flew 146 missions in the Berlin Airlift. In the Korean War, he flew air-sea rescue patrols. Later, Col. West and his wife ran a gas station, a restaurant, and a motel. During that time, he also flew reserve transport missions. In 1960, Col. West took command of an air-sea rescue unit in Homestead, Florida. He later headed tactical airlift and air support commands in Mobile, Alabama and Montgomery, Alabama. From 1968 to 1970, he worked at the Pentagon.
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Col. West will be remembered not only for his military career, but also for his drive to raise his family's standard of living. From having one pair of shoes a year (handed down among his four brothers), Col. West was able to send his children to college and build a retirement home for his wife, and help his daughter and son-in-law build a vacation home in his home valley.
Col. West is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Doug Owens; his granddaughter and husband, Amy and Jonathan Pruden; and great-grandchildren, Abigail and William. His son, Marcus Kenneth, died in 1995.
Burial will take place in South Carolina. The family would like to thank Dee Goodlet, Chris and Diane Mammarello, Hazel Taylor, Demaris and Neal Richards and Mary Davidson for their kind care-giving. Arrangements are under the direction of Strickland Funeral Home Crystal River.
Strickland Funeral Home
1901 South Highway 19 Crystal River, FL 34429
Published in Citrus County Chronicle on June 19, 2014