Robert “Rick” E. West, Jr, age 68 of Pittsboro, NC, passed away with his son, Andrew, at his bedside early Tuesday morning, February 11, 2020 at the Bryan UNC Hospice Home in Pittsboro. Rick was born May 1, 1951 in Greensboro, NC to the late Robert E. West, Sr. from whom he learned tolerance and acceptance and Betty Jean Fortson from whom he learned faith and love of God.
Rick lived his entire childhood and young teen years in Greensboro where he enjoyed close relationships with his family and many friends. Growing up, Rick cherished hunting trips with his father and other family to Lake Mattamuskeet in eastern NC.
He graduated from Grimsley High School in 1969 and returned to Greensboro in October 2019 for the Grimsley 50th reunion. Rumor has it that Rick was an inspirational star on the dance floor! At Grimsley, Rick played on the golf team as an exceptionally talented golfer. After high school, Rick studied political sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). Post college, after working for years in various aspects of commercial and residential construction in the Chapel Hill area, Rick joined UNC Facilities Services in 1989 designing mechanical and electrical systems for new and renovated buildings on campus. Rick loved his work at UNC-CH and was an avid Tar Heel basketball fan. He retired from UNC-CH in 2010. In retirement, Rick was grateful to have more time for his beloved family, his many pets and his love of running. Rick recently calculated that he ran more than 30,000 miles over the course of his life. Jordan Lake was Rick’s favorite running destination. The Lake was also Rick’s sanctuary where he spent many hours in meditation, bird watching, and running with his dogs.
Rick was a friend to all and loved nothing better than to engage in a lengthy conversation about anything and everything. Devoted father, friend and grandfather; Rick lived his life with great passion and intensity, frequently reminding us to be positive, embrace the beauty in life, and not to sweat the small stuff. He faced the last days of his illness with grace and peace, practicing his “rule number one” of “don’t panic.” We will miss Rick intensely and remember him always with love.
Rick is survived by his sons, Andrew R. West (Nikki) and Jefferson A. West; three granddaughters, two grandsons, his brother Donald B. West (Bonnie), his favorite Aunt Rosa, cousin Stanley W. West (Pam), a nephew and many friends.
Family will host a celebration of Rick’s life Saturday, February 29, 2020 from 3-5pm at Donaldson Funeral Home 396 West Pittsboro St. Pittsboro, NC 27312.
Rick’s family is profoundly grateful for the compassionate care and support of the staffs at the NC Cancer Hospital at UNC and, especially, the Jim & Betsy Bryan Hospice Home of UNC Healthcare in Pittsboro.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the UNC Hospice Home. Memorial gifts can be made online at go.unc.edu/unchospice, or checks made payable to the Medical Foundation of NC may be mailed to 123 West Franklin Street, Suite 510, Chapel Hill NC 27516.
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P.O. Box 1077, Pittsboro NC 27312