James Lee West, 71, of St. Joseph, MI passed from this life on June 13, 2020. He was born in CA on July 7, 1948 to Frank and Pearl (Jackson) West, but he called Washington State his home. Jim graduated from East High School in Bremerton, WA in 1966 where he was on the wrestling and football teams. On April 26, 1974 at Naval Air Station Lemoore CA, he was married to Patti O’Bryant, a native of Buchanan MI. Together they raised three children.
Jim served his country in the US Navy for 12 years, making four tours to SE Asia during the Vietnam War. Upon leaving the Navy, he joined the US Coast Guard Reserves, where he assisted in the Search and Rescue team at Puget Sound for 10 years. Jim also returned to college after the Navy, earning an industrial engineering degree from Cogswell College in Kirkland, WA.
Jim worked for Boeing Aerospace for more than 25 years, but his passion was racing motorcycles. He was a member of the Washington Motorcycle Road Racing Association (WMRRA) for 20 years, competing in races throughout the Northwest. Jim loved coaching high school football and other youth sports, volunteering his time and talents. He was also a member of the Benton Harbor “Pray-re Riders” chapter of the Christian Motorcycle Association (CMA).
Jim and his family were members of Overcomer Covenant Church in Auburn, WA for many years. He also served as a chaplain for Racers for Christ. Upon his retirement from Boeing, Jim and Patti relocated to Saint Joseph, MI, where they are members of the First Church of God.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Pearl West, and by a brother, Norman Palmer. Surviving are his wife; a son, Christopher West of St. Joseph, MI; two daughters, Kara (Dave) Semer of Kent, WA, and Amanda (Kelly) Gage-Cole of Alpharetta GA; and four grandchildren: Eric Semer, Sean Semer, Morgan Gage-Cole, and Cody Gage-Cole. A memorial service will be held at a later date at Overcomer Covenant Church and his cremains will be interred at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, WA.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Starks & Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Service. Memorials may be made to New Heights, 2627 Niles Ave., St. Joseph, MI 49085. Those wishing to share a memory of Jim online may do so at www.starks-menchinger.com