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Edward A. West

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Edward A. West Obituary

Edward A. West

Who served as chief spokesman for two of Indiana's largest and most visible companies, died on June 11 following a nearly two-year battle with cancer. He was 67.

West was a veteran media, communications and public relations professional with extensive experience in building and leading corporate communications organizations for Fortune 500 companies. He held the top corporate communications posts at WellPoint, Inc., a Fortune 50 company, and Eli Lilly and Company, a Fortune 150 company. In those roles, West led strategic communications planning, marketing communications, executive communications, public relations, media relations, branding, internal communications and crisis management.

As chief spokesman for these companies, West was quoted extensively in the majority of major daily newspapers in the United States and in many international news outlets. He was interviewed countless times on national and international television and radio.

West spent the bulk of his career at Eli Lilly and Company, which he joined in 1972 as a pharmaceutical sales representative. He served in a variety of additional roles, including marketing and government relations, before becoming the public face of the company at a time of significant growth and cultural change. West was a catalyst for transforming the way Lilly communicated with many of its constituencies, particularly the press.

In 2003, West retired from Lilly and joined WellPoint, Inc. (formerly Anthem, Inc.). There, he served as senior vice president of corporate communications until retiring in 2007. He founded West & Company the same year to provide strategic communications and public relations counsel for a diverse set of regional, national and multinational clients.

A native of Clay City, Ind., he was born September 20, 1946, to Fred West and Evelyn VanHorn West Luther. He earned bachelor and master of science degrees in education at Ball State University. Prior to joining Lilly, West taught in public school systems in Merrillville, Marion and Muncie, Ind.

He was a longtime supporter of the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. A museum member since 1998, West was a devoted patron, generous donor and dedicated volunteer. He joined the board of directors in 2006 and was named chairman of the board in 2013.

West was a past member of the boards of Indianapolis Downtown, Inc.; Indy Partnership, Inc.; Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Broadcasting, Inc.; the Crossroads of America Council Boy Scouts of America; the Brown County Community Foundation; and The Villages of Indiana, Inc.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara Lewis West; son, Brian (Carrie) West; sister, Rhonda (David) Huxford; stepfather, Melvin "Bing" Luther; and extended family. An avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed hunting and fly fishing, and he cherished the time he spent with his family at his Wyoming ranch and at his home in the wooded hills of Brown County, Ind.

A reception celebrating his life will be held at the Eiteljorg Museum, 500 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, on Wednesday, June 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art (http://www.causes.com/eiteljorgmuseum) or Miles for Myeloma (http://www.cancer.iu.edu/~simon1/m4m/index.shtml). Arrangements entrusted to Leppert Mortuary- Nora .

Published in the The Indianapolis Star on June 15, 2014
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