Services
Trinity Episcopal Church
200 Island Ave
Reno, NV 89501
Celebration of Life
Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019
2:00 PM
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
200 Island Avenue
Reno, NV
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Michael (Mike) West


1947 - 2019
Michael (Mike) West Obituary
Michael (Mike) West

Michael (Mike) West - an accomplished educator who cherished his family and friends - departed this world in the comfort of his home to join his heavenly father on November 19, 2019. Mike was born on October 8, 1947, to his late parents, Jack and Patsy West, in Big Spring, Texas. Mike's sister always said the day Mike was born was the best day of her life.

Mike's childhood was spent mostly in California until he moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he graduated from Rancho High School and then University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). While attending UNLV, he pledged the Kappa Sigma fraternity and met many of his lifelong friends. He also met the love of his life, Connie, and they married on June 2, 1971. Mike would be the first to admit that Connie helped him to find his calling as an educator. He began his career as a math teacher and later rose in the ranks of school administration to become a high school principal. Mike and Connie moved to Gig Harbor, Washington, in 1996, where Mike continued his career as a high school principal before his first battle with primary central nervous system lymphoma took a severe toll on his mind and body and forced him to retire.

Mike was a true family man. In addition to his wife of 48 years, he adored his daughters and grandchildren. If you met Mike, you know about his family because he was never shy about singing their praises. Mike enjoyed any time spent with family, but particularly playing games and often taking a strategic advantage (commonly known as cheating).

Before Mike was sadly limited by illness, he enjoyed traveling, dining at "local flavor" restaurants in search of the perfect blueberry pancake, and attending sporting events (especially Seattle Seahawks and Mariners games). Thankfully, illness could not keep him away from one of his other favorite activities, attending the movies. Mike was known on a first name-basis at many of the local movie theaters.

Mike was genuinely interested in people and their stories and made a lasting impression on those who were blessed to know him. He cared deeply about the students and teachers at his schools, always challenging them to be the best versions of themselves. In his recent years, he was assisted by young caregivers who he thought of as his mentees, giving them daily words of wisdom and encouragement, much like he did during his days as an educator. His smile lit up a room and his deep belly laugh could be recognized miles away by those who knew him.

One of Mike's favorite stories was The Starfish Story - a motivational story of hope, perseverance, and creating positive change, a story that epitomizes the story of his life. The final line of the story is, "I made a difference to that one." Many people would agree that Mike made a real difference in their lives.

Mike courageously battled cancer multiple times and the limitations of early dementia resulting from his cancer before he finally succumbed. Mike is survived by his loving wife, Connie; his daughters, Ali (Jeff) Shepard and Carli (Pete) Kinne; his grandchildren, Burke, Claire, and Kal; and his sister, Jerry.

Please join us in a Celebration of Life on Sunday, December 15, 2019, at 2:00 pm at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 200 Island Avenue, Reno, NV 89501.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made in Mike's honor to the South Sound CARE Foundation. Following his remission from cancer the first time, Mike was one of a group of community leaders who came together to create the foundation to bring groundbreaking clinical trials and cancer research to the South Sound Region of Washington, and to provide residents with cancer treatment options otherwise unavailable. He was very honored to play a role in the foundation's early years. You can donate by mail: South Sound CARE Foundation, P.O. Box 1314 Tacoma, WA 98401-1314; by phone: 253-220-5003; or online: https://www.southsoundcarefoundation.org/donate.
Published in Reno Gazette-Journal from Dec. 1 to Dec. 8, 2019
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