Published 8:29 am Tuesday, August 1, 2023
Bob West went to be with The Lord on July 28, 2023. He passed away at MD Anderson due to complications related to his Stage IV Colon Cancer.
Bob West was born in Mexico, Missouri in 1944. He moved to Southeast Texas in 1965 to attend what was then Lamar Tech. During the late 1960’s through the early 1970’s Bob served in the Texas Air National Guard.
He started a 49-year newspaper career at the Beaumont Enterprise in 1966 while attending Lamar, married Lamar cheerleader Genie Montie of Port Arthur in 1968, was hired at the Port Arthur News in 1971, and became sports editor in June of 1972.
After his retirement from The Port Arthur News in 2015, Bob continued to write a weekly golf column for The News, keeping area golfers apprised of the world of golf.
West was known for his heavy emphasis on coverage of high school sports and for championing athletes from Southeast Texas who went on to play at collegiate and professional levels. He was twice named Texas Sports Writer of the Year by the Texas High School Coaches Association and twice was selected recipient of the prestigious Fred Hartman Excellence in Sportswriting Award.
West built a bigger platform by branching out into sports talk radio, doing shows in Houston, Beaumont and Port Arthur for over 30 years.
In addition, he helped pioneer high school football telecasts in Southeast Texas, and was analyst for 20 years of Port Arthur News Friday Night Experience telecasts that enhanced exposure for area high school players. West’s fundraising efforts on behalf of the Babe Zaharias Foundation led to the implementation of an endowed $50,000 Babe Zaharias-Bob West scholarship for women’s athletics at Lamar University.
His major civic project was 13 Port Arthur News Homecoming Roasts that raised over $700,000 for the Museum of the Gulf Coast. Sports honorees were Jimmy Johnson, Bum Phillips, Billy Tubbs, Tom Hicks, Joe Washington Jr., Jamaal Charles and Wade Phillips.
Other honorees included attorney Walter Umphrey, then Texas Governor Ann Richards, US Congressman Jack Brooks, Texas Senator Carl Parker, and Texas Secretary of State Jack Rains. Richards also participated five times as a roaster. Of West, Richards said, “Bob West can get most of us to do anything.”
Among the many high profile celebrities West helped bring to Port Arthur for the roasts were former president Bill Clinton, comedian Don Rickles, Dr. Red Duke, NFL Hall of Famers Roger Staubach, Earl Campbell, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin , and Franco Harris, NBA Hall of Famer Julius (Dr. J) Erving, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Jim Nantz of CBS Sports.
The 1992 event, with Clinton as a roaster and Richards as the roastee, was televised worldwide on C-Span. West’s final significant project was the implementation of the unique Port Arthur News Bum Phillips Bowl trophy presented annually to the winner of the Mid-County Madness rivalry between Nederland and Port Neches-Groves.
He was an incredible father, husband, servant leader and trail blazer in the world of sports. His family is so unbelievably proud of the life he lived and the impact he had on Southest Texas sports and in the world.
Bob is survived by his wife, Genie Montie West of Port Neches; son, Brandon West, of Washington, DC, his wife Shana Chandler and their son Hudson (grandson); son, Damon West, of Nederland, his wife, Kendell Romero and her daughter Clara (granddaughter); son, Grayson West, of Celina, and his wife, Emily West; his beloved bulldog, Watson; and many other family members and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Marge West.
A gathering of Family and Friends will take place from 1:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. Sunday, August 6, 2023, at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Port Neches.
A Memorial Service will be conducted from 2:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. Sunday, August 6, 2023, at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church.
Private Cremation Services will take place at a later date.
Services are under the direction of Melancon Funeral Home in Nederland, Texas.
The family would like to thank Dr. Kimberly Pitts, Dr. Joseph Holland and Bob’s care team at MD Anderson for their loving care and compassion. Also many thanks to Father Shane Baxter for the many hours of spiritual counseling.
In lieu of flowers “Memorial Contributions” can be made to the Museum of the Gulf Coast located at 700 Procter Street, Port Arthur, TX 77642 or https://www.museumofthegulfcoast.org/.