The Reverend William Henry (Bill) West — former assistant Greens Farms Congregational Church minister, strong youth advocate and, later, Custom Printing & Graphics business owner — died peacefully at the Connecticut Hospice in Branford last week, after a long battle with cancer. He was 76 years old, and lived in Old Saybrook.
The Long Island native graduated from Manhasset High School and Alfred University, then earned a Masters of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological Seminary.
After student ministry in Andover, Massachusetts, West moved to Greens Farms Church here. He served as director of the Youth Adult Council — predecessor of the Youth Commission — in the 1960s and ’70s.
After operating his printing company, he worked with organizations that serve the disenfranchised and needy, including United Way and Literacy Volunteers of America. He also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, and Operation Hope of Fairfield and Bridgeport.
West returned to his true passion: working one-on-one with individuals in need. After earning certification as a chaplain from Hartford Seminary, he served as a protestant chaplain at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford and St. Raphael’s in New Haven. He also counseled men suffering from drug and alcohol addiction at the Relapse Prevention Program in New Haven. He retired in 2018.
His family notes West’s “unswerving commitment to others, his smile, his welcoming demeanor, and his compassion. Patients and staff at St Raphael’s and Yale-New Haven repeatedly cited his presence as comforting. He loved his work, even as he was loved by those he served and those with whom he worked.”
West was predeceased by his wife Margaret. He is survived by his daughter Elizabeth; grandsons Theo and Quinten Ewasko of Newtown; brother Robert of Farmington; 2 nieces, a nephew, cousins, and many friends and colleagues.
A service in his memory will be held at the First Congregational Church, Deep River, on September 25 (1 p.m.)
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital’s Closer to Free Program (Office of Development, Box 1849, New Haven CT 06508); First Church Congregational in Deep River (DRCC, Box 246, Deep River CT 06417), or Dylan’s Wings of Change “Wingman Program (Box 3489, Newtown CT 06470).