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Donald Lamar West

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Donald Lamar West Donald Lamar West, age 77, passed away peacefully with his family by his side on August 2nd under the wonderful care of the staff at Christopher House in Austin, Texas. He was born on August 4th, 1932 in Houston, Texas to Herbert Gerald and Marion Rogers West. On August 23, 1952 Don married Kay Seiders. They met on a Sunday at First English Lutheran Church, and on Monday he was waiting to meet her outside Austin High. Three months later they were married at St. Pauls Lutheran Church in New Braunfels, Texas. Don is preceded by his son Kevin, and is survived by his wife of almost 58 years, Kay West, along with his three children and their spouses: Robert, wife Cristabell, Stan, wife Vivien, and Donna, husband Chris. Don had seven grandchildren Christopher, Melissa, LaShell, Krystle, Steven, Aspen, and C.J. as well as four great-grandchildren Alex, Beckett, Katelyn, and Kristopher. Don developed exceptionally deep roots in Austin, Texas, living there the majority of his life. He was drafted during the Korean War in 1952, shortly after he and Kay were married. Upon his return to Texas, Don began his incredibly long and impactful career in real estate, beginning to work for Nelson Puett in the late '50s, from there Don shifted his career from real estate sales to homebuilding and real estate development in the '60s. Don West's impact on the Austin area is visible through the many subdivisions he developed such as Castlewood Forest and Buckingham Estates and the achievement of which he was most proud, the re-founding of Gruene in 1973. Don purchased, with business partners, 138 acres near New Braunfels including a substantial amount of the town of Gruene. The purpose was to help rejuvenate the area and restore the town to its former glory of the late 1800s, he did this by ensuring the restoration of properties such as Guene Hall and Gruene Mansion, as well as helping to save the water tower. Don took part in the rejuvenation and was very proud of the successful tourist attraction Gruene has become. Throughout his homebuilding career, Don was active in politics on the local, state, and national levels. On the local level Don became president of the Austin Area Homebuilders Association in 1969 and chaired the first Austin homebuilder's Energy Conservation Seminar in 1976 (he focused on energy efficient homes, before being GREEN was cool). Don was selected Austin Area Builder of the year in 1981/82. On the state level he helped found "Take Back Texas" which was an organization devoted to protecting property owners' rights. On the national level he lobbied with friend and Congressman Jake Pickle, chair of House Finance Committee, where he worked to reform rules affecting federal estate tax laws. For his work on the national level Don achieved Life Director in 1980 and Sr. Life Director in 1990 of the National Homebuilders Association. In real estate and in his personal life, which were often impossible to separate, Don demonstrated a passion in everything he did from flying his Cessna off the grass landing strip on Slaughter Lane to his annual trips to Washington, D.C. to attend the National Homebuilders Association where he was a lifetime board member. This passion will truly be missed by his family and friends, as well as anyone who knew him. Visitation will be Friday, August 6th from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Bethany Lutheran Church in Austin. The funeral service will be held on Saturday, August 7th at 2:00 p.m. at the church with internment to follow at Cook-Walden/Capital Parks Cemetery in Pflugerville, Texas. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Christopher House Austin, Texas or Bethany Lutheran Church. Pallbearers will be Chris Auger, Butch Hawkins, Alex LaBounty, Blake Von Blon, Chris West, and Ronnie West. Honorary pallbearers will be Arlon Bindseil, John Campbell, Trigg Forister, Wayne Forister, Bob Howerton, Jerry Kern, John Lang, Don Leach, Harry Savio, Don Smith, and Moody Anderson.


Published in Austin American-Statesman on Aug. 6, 2010
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