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Jackie West

Obituary Condolences

Jackie West Obituary
Jackie Abel West made her transition from life on May 4, 2010. It was important to Jackie that this not be a "sad" moment, but one filled with memories of a life well spent.Now she's goneWe know not where.If we had to guess,She's just up in the air!Jackie was born in Deadwood, South Dakota on July 2, 1935. In 1953 she moved with her family to Oklahoma City, where she lived the rest of her life. It was here she raised her three lovely daughters and made a rich and enduring contribution to Oklahoma City's cultural community. Jackie's life was filled with an appreciation of the theatre, art, good food, good books, her many friends, the New York Times Sunday Crossword, and much fun and laughter. Jackie's house was always a gathering place, and every holiday, birthday and special occasion was celebrated with Jackie's great cooking and touches only she could add. With Jackie's birthday falling on July 2, the 4th of July was always an especially festive occasion, with friends and family from across the country celebrating around her backyard pool. Jackie was a rabid Democrat, an errant Episcopalian, and a life-long cat lover. In the last two years of life she adopted Rose Louise, an elderly Dachshund, who gave her much joy. Jackie also was known for adopting human "strays", as well. There are so many people whom Jackie considered a part of her "family". Her generous soul inspired one family to name their daughter after her. In 1962 Jackie joined the volunteer force working to start a summer musical theatre company, which eventually became Lyric Theatre. In her 22 years with Lyric, Jackie was a major and guiding force in its success. She created the original box office set-up and procedures, staffing and supervising it for the next nine years. In her first 17 years as a volunteer and Board Member, she was President of the Lyric Guild for two years, and Vice President of the Board of Directors for two years. In 1980 Jackie became Executive Director of the organization, where she served until 1984, leading an enthusiastic, exciting and very successful period of Lyric Theatre history. Jackie also lent her energy and expertise to many other arts organizations in Oklahoma City. For 35 years she worked on the Arts Council of Oklahoma City's Festival of the Arts, chairing almost every volunteer committee available at one time or another. In the mid-70's Jackie helped to create and build The Company, the volunteer arm of the Oklahoma Theatre Center (now Stage Center), serving as President for the first three years. She also served on the Board of Jewel Box Theatre for two terms, and on the Board of the Arthritis Foundation. In 2000, Jackie became a Founding Member and architect of the Board of Directors of Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre, a fully-professional, Equity-affiliated theatre company, serving as the first President of the Board. She was particularly proud of the fact that CityRep ended each of their eight seasons to date in the black, an accomplishment that is a direct result of Jackie's board development and leadership. Jackie's professional career also included serving as Executive Director of the Oklahoma Cancer Information Service, State Director of Public Relations for Weight Watchers of Oklahoma, and Marketing Representative for INTEGRIS Health. She volunteered as a Water Safety Instructor for the American Red Cross for 35 years, and taught over 3,000 children to swim from her backyard pool. Jackie was preceded in death by her father and mother Albert Arthur Abel and Hazel Ruby (Kane) Abel, brother Robert Abel, nephew Craig Abel, niece Tamara (Abel) Hendrix, and the father of her daughters William H. West. She is survived by brother Richard Abel; sister-in-law Judy Abel; daughter Wendy West of New York City and Los Angeles; daughter Kim Sprouse Clements and husband Richard Clements of Oklahoma City; daughter Brooke West and Dave Cleasby of Elkhorn, Nebraska; grandchildren Benjamin Sprouse, Whitney Pentzien, Hayley Pentzien, Andrew Sprouse, Carlyn Pentzien, Taylor Pentzien, Jo Ann Smith, and Jennifer Beagle; two great-grandchildren; and longtime special friend Fred Minter. In the 1990's Jackie underwent a series of surgeries and reconstructions to relieve oncoming symptoms of osteoarthritis. She would often share with her doctors that "that knee was shot on the concrete steps of Stage Center - that shoulder went to hauling ice at the Arts Festival - I got that back injury because of a fall at Lyric". The history of Oklahoma theatre was buried in the bones of this remarkable and truly amazing architect of Oklahoma City theatre. In lieu of flowers Jackie asked that memorials be made to: The Humane Society of Central Oklahoma or Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre, P.O. Box 1913, OKC, OK 73101. A celebration of Jackie's life will be held in Kirkpatrick Auditorium on the campus of Oklahoma City University at 2:00 pm on June 5, 2010.''When you feel your song is orchestrated wrong,Why should you prolong your stay?When the wind and weather blow your dreams sky-high,Sail away, sail away, sail away! - Noel Coward

Published in The Oklahoman on May 12, 2010
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