Robert Alton West, Jr. (88) was born in Newbern, TN, Aug. 29, 1932 to Alton and Ethel West and passed away peacefully under Hospice care on Nov. 30, 2020 in Dade City, FL. He was raised in Dyersburg and Newbern, TN. As a youth, he loved to draw and paint. He worked for the Coca-Cola bottling plant and for Art Craft Signs. After graduation, he enlisted in the US Air Force and served honorably in the Korean Conflict. After his discharge from the military, he pursued his passion for art by attending the New England School of Art in Boston, MA and successfully completing the Famous Artists curriculum. In 1957, he moved to Orlando to work first for American Fire and Casualty, then the Martin-Marietta Defense Plant, and then as Art Director for Shattuck, Rather, Fraley and Wilson advertising agency. Eventually, he became a freelance commercial artist creating marketing materials for companies such as Walt Disney, Sea World, Wet ‘n Wild, Coca-Cola, and Ralston-Purina.
In 1979, he moved to Brevard, NC, to start a retail Christian Book Store which eventually transitioned into a Commodore Computer Store in the early stages of personal and small business computers. He developed grading software that was used by teachers all over the U.S. His story is featured on a page in a book on the history of computers published by M.I.T. When the computer store closed, he managed the mainframe computer department at Brevard Federal until it was sold.
He was an accomplished fine artist and commercial artist. When the world changed from doing things by hand to doing it all by computer, he retooled and learned to do everything using the computer. He was perhaps best known for his ability as a cartoonist. Over the years, he developed many different religious cartoon series such as The Evangelist, All In The Body, Our Religious World, Brother Farisee, Our Father’s Children and his best known creation, Theophilus, which was translated into many languages and distributed across the world being published in newspapers, bulletins, books and across the Internet. He created and published two religious magazines, the first being Gospel Graphics which then morphed into Gospel Teacher. He authored and published many books of his cartoons and on various religious topics.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife of 53 years, Sylvia Buteau West, his second wife of 3 years, Rebecca Wagner West, and daughter, Suzanne Gore (Fred). He is survived by a brother, Gaylon West (Mary Lou) of Auburndale, FL, two sisters, Linda Briggs (Wayne) of Lutz, FL and Janie Ward of Tampa, FL, a son, David West (Vickie) of Dade City, FL and a daughter, Robynne Genton (Anthony) of Fort Worth, TX, and a son-in-law, Fred Gore of Brevard, NC., grandchildren, Larissa Gore Gallaway (Chris), Fred Gore III (Kristie), Josiah Gore (Kate), Jennifer Varsha (Alon), Jessica Oelkers (Noah), Jonathan West, Aaron Genton (Ashli), and Allison Savic (Bojan) and 13 great-grandchildren and six nieces and nephews.
He was a lifelong Christian who loved the Lord Jesus Christ and sought to serve Him with all his heart, soul, strength and mind. He was a skilled Bible Class teacher, a church elder, and on occasion preached a sermon. He mostly tried to work behind the scenes to do the Lord’s work. He “focused on Jesus” and longed to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter the joys of your Lord.”
A Memorial Service was held for him on Sat., Dec. 12, at the Dade City (FL) Church of Christ. Ashes will be scattered in Brevard, NC at the location of the living memorials for both of his wives.
Saddened to see the memorial for Bob West and my condolences to his family and friends. I met Bob while I was in Middle School in Brevard, NC. I would go by Bob West Computers most every day after school to look at (and play with) the Commodore computers. I was intrigued with the computers and worked all summer to raise enough money to by my first computer which was a Commodore VIC-20 with external cassette drive. Bob and his wife were gracious in letting me come by and play any time.
Bob also held a series of classes where I learned BASIC computer programming. While I didn’t become a programmer that early experience had a profound impact on my life and helped shape what I was to become. I’m sure Bob and his wife didn’t understand at the time but the smallest impact from good people can have a huge impact on someone. I wish they could know how their smallest kindness surely positively impacted many other lives as well.
Thank you Bob and Rest in Peace.