Local resident Larry Keith West, 73, passed away in his sleep on Thursday, June 6, 2013, at his home in Fairbanks. He was born June 14, 1939, in his grandmother's living room in Harrisburg, S.D., to Wava DeWayne Larson and Lyle West.
As a boy, Larry spent his summers in Fairbanks with his dad, where he grew to love Alaska and all it has to offer the adventurous. Larry joined the U.S. Air Force
reserves after high school and was called up for active duty with his brother-in-law, Louie Postema, during the Cuban Missile Crisis in the fall of 1962.
Larry met his wife of 54 years, Vivian Gould, in Minneapolis, Minn., where they were married and gave birth to their first two daughters before moving to Alaska and becoming permanent residents in 1964. Their third daughter was born in Fairbanks.
A sheet-metal worker by trade, Larry was employed for most of his career at Holiday Parks Sheet Metal and was a proud member of the Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 23. Larry had been retired for 12 years at the time of his passing. As much as he was dedicated to and enjoyed his career, his retired years were filled with the joy of being able to spend more time with his family, especially his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom he loved dearly and was greatly proud.
He also loved revisiting his favorite hunting, fishing and camping sites, traveling around Alaska in his motorhome that he dubbed, "The Twilight Delight." Larry enjoyed working with his hands and he could build anything that someone could describe to him. He grew up learning to build homes with his dad, and carried on that tradition when he designed and built a beautiful home for his family in 1975. He enjoyed woodworking and gardening and particularly enjoyed his greenhouse. He was a "jack of all trades;" there wasn't anything that he couldn't build or fix, and he always had projects going and many people benefited from his ingenuity. Each morning Larry set a goal to accomplish. As he grew older, it became more difficult to accomplish those things in the time he allotted, but he wouldn't call it a day until he had finished.
Larry had a big heart and he loved to pass out his "Professional Retiree" business cards with a cartoon on the back. He will be greatly missed for his sense of humor. Larry believed that the best thing one can do for their health is laugh every day, and he did his best to give everyone he met a laugh and a smile.
His love and devotion for his family knew no bounds. They always came first, and they knew it.
Larry is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife, Vivian; daughters, Shannon Schreck, of Knik; local artist, Cynthia West Hanson, of Fairbanks; and Colleen Bates, of Lanikai, Hawaii; grandchildren, Kyle Brunke and Caitlyn Brunke, of Anchorage; John Hanson, of Fairbanks; Danielle Hanson, of Clinton, Conn.; James Butler IV, of Bloomington, Ill.; Katherine Bates, of Lanikai, Hawaii; great-grandchildren, Isabelle, Ariana and Jaylynn; father, Lyle West Sr., 96, of Homer; sister, Leanne Postema, of Sacramento, Calif.; brothers, Lyle West Jr., of Minneapolis, Minn.; and Gene West, of Fairbanks; aunts, Grace Aleck and Jessie Larson, of Harrisburg, S.D.; uncles, DeWayne Larson, of Harrisburg, S.D.; and Ronald Larson, of Rapid City, S.D.; and beloved cousins, nieces and nephews across the country.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Wava DeWayne Kleppe, his brother-in-law and dear friend, Louie Postema, and his great-grandson, Dema Hanson.
Larry's memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 22, 2013, at Door of Hope Church. Memorial donations can be made in his name to The
at their online memorial donation page https://donate.americanheart.org/ecommerce/donation/acknowledgement_info.jsp
or the Fairbanks Kiwanis Club, PO Box 70864, Fairbanks, Alaska 99707 or email@example.com