James "Jake" West, 85, of Fort Sumner died March 3, 2013 in Clovis. He was born Dec. 24, 1927 to the home of Add Clyn and Gracie Gay (Lawson) West.
Jake attended Fort Sumner Schools. He married Leona Frances Whinnery on June 21, 1950 in Fort Sumner. In addition to being a father and raising five children, he farmed, served twelve years on the Board of Directors for the Fort Sumner Irrigation District, and worked thirty years for the USDA ASCS in both De Baca and Guadalupe counties before retiring as County Executive Director, served as president of the De Baca County Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club
, De Baca Ex-Students' Association, was committeeman for the historical book "Living Waters" on families of De Baca County, and was a member of the Eastern Plains Council of Government, First Baptist Church and men's bowling league.
Jake was best known for raising watermelons, cantaloupe and many specialty melons for over fifty years and participating at growers markets in Santa Fe and Los Alamos for over 30 years. He was also responsible for many "anonymous" deliveries of melons and pumpkins to family, friends, schools and charities throughout the state.
Jake is preceded in death by his parents, sister Addie Whittington, brothers Denton West and Cecil West all in 2012; a sister Ozelle Ratliff Howe in 2003; brothers Woodrow West in 1964 and Vane West in 1945.
Survivors include his wife Leona West of Fort Sumner; daughter Jana Gray of Clovis; four sons David James West, Kenneth Lane West, Alan Cecil West of Fort Sumner, Terry Ross West of Midland, Texas; a brother Sidney "Red" West Fort Sumner; three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, a host of nieces, nephews, extended family, and many well loved friends.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am March 9, 2013 at the First Baptist Church in Fort Sumner. Burial will follow at Fort Sumner Cemetery with Rev. Jim Peabody officiating.
The family requests memorials in Jake's memory to the Fort Sumner Ex-Student's Assn., P.O. Box 5, Ft. Sumner, NM 88119 or the Fort Sumner Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 180, Ft. Sumner, NM 88119.
Arrangements are under the direction of Chavez Funeral Home, 830 N. Fifth Street; Fort Sumner, NM. (575) 355-2311. To place an online tribute or sign the guest book, go to chavezfuneralhome.com