Hollis Dale West, died unexpectedly at his home in Lexington, KY at the age of 84, on September 1, 2015.
Hollis is survived by four children: Holly Denise Wilson (Freddie), Johnnie Jean Marlow (Paul), Marsha John (John), and Gordon Scott West. Seven grandchildren: Chris Tapp, William Ashley Wilson (Amber), Haley Wilson Hall (Clint), Jasmine John Reuscher (Nick), Jordan Michael John, Camille Patsy West, and Meredith Diana West, and six great grandchildren: Isabella Tapp, Lawson Tapp, Cullen Jax Wilson, Briley Olivia Reuscher, Holly Katherine Hall, and Emery Grace Reuscher.
He was preceded in death by his wife Patsy Jean Metcalf West and a beloved granddaughter Holly Nicole Wilson. Also his parents Hollie Jefferson West and Gladys Myrtle Stevison West, and one brother Leon West.
He also leaves behind special friends and colleagues Robert Schaeffer, Mike Perry, David Farmer, Ron Williams, and Bonnie Vaughn
Hollis was born February 6, 1931 in Sesser, Illinois to Hollie Jefferson West and Gladys Myrtle Stevison West. He graduated from Sesser High School in 1949 and married Patsy Metcalf that same year.
After joining the United States Air force during the Korean War, Hollis was sent to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. There he taught Morse Code to Airman who were going overseas. Upon leaving the Air Force, he returned to Illinois in 1955 and went to Southern Illinois University on the GI Bill. He often worked three jobs while attending school to provide for his family.
Upon graduating from college, he took a job in Kalamazoo, Michigan at a federally funded program for low income and developmentally delayed adults. From there the family moved to Charleston, West Virginia so Hollis could open a Manpower Training Program. This was the beginning of “The War on Poverty.” Hollis began working with very powerful people like Robert Kennedy and Jay Rockefeller.
He was contacted by a friend and offered a position as the Director of Job Corps in Battle Creek, Michigan, where race riots were common. He made an enemy of former President Gerald Ford who was a congressman from Michigan. Ford worked behind the scenes to have Hollis fired. Hollis took a job at another Sheltered Workshop and the family moved to Syracuse, New York.
While in New York, he was approached to take a job in Barbourville, Kentucky to work for the Community Action Council. Less than a year after moving to New York, the family moved again.
In Barbourville, Hollis worked hand in hand with those who dedicated their lives to the poor, illiterate, and less fortunate. In response to Governor Louie B. Nunn giving a racehorse to a Saudi Arabian Sheik, Hollis presented Governor Nunn with a mule named Hope on behalf of the poor.
During his tenure at OEO in Barbourville, Hollis opened KY Krafts, Lawson Furniture, and the Hickory House Restaurant all so that the poor of Knox County might find employment.
In 1984, his wife Patsy became ill and they returned to Illinois to be with family. Hollis took a job as an Administrator at Rea Clinic in Christopher, Illinois. He then worked with the blind at Fasicil until health forced him to retire.
He was a lifelong Methodist and a passionate member of the Democratic Party. He loved his grandchildren and great grandchildren with all his heart, and reveled in their accomplishments. His greatest moments of joy were spent with them.
He will be loved and missed by all whose lives he touched. He is someone who truly lived his life and left an extensive legacy for his family members and the poor and disadvantaged.
Graveside Services will be held on Saturday September 5, 2015 at 1 p.m.. at the Maple Hill Cemetery in Sesser, Illinois where he will buried beside the love of his life. Visitation will be on Saturday September 5, 2015 at the First United Methodist Church in Sesser from 12:00 p.m. until 12:45 p.m. In lieu of flowers it is requested donations be made to:
Kilo Diabetes Foundation
11780 Manchester Rd Suite 107
St. Louis, Missouri 63131
For more information go to our website www.gilbertfuneralhomes.com