Tuesday, June 03, 2008

In Memoriam: Sandy West, 1949 - 2008

Sandy West, a good friend from the Western Pennsylvania campaign trail, died Saturday at the young age of 58.

Sandy was a prince of a guy: generous, dedicated and soft-spoken. He was a true "gentle man."

I first met Sandy and his wife, Bonnie, at the annual Washington County Republican Party spring dinner in 2004. From there, the couple (pictured above) became active supporters of my State House races and other local GOP campaigns. They were instrumental in our grassroots outreach to Cecil Township, especially in their neighborhood, Georgetown Estates. Today, Bonnie ably serves as chair of the Washington County GOP.

One anecdote:

During my 2006 State House race, I was approached by a local volunteer fire department to help find funding for smoke detectors to be distributed at a rural elementary school in the wake of a house fire that took the lives of multiple children. I turned to Sandy, who I knew professionally sold smoke detectors and similar equipment. Without hesitation, Sandy successfully sought one of the local electrical firms with whom he did business to donate the smoke detectors. Today, many families are safer thanks to his intervention.

In the words of the concluding blessing of the Catholic funeral Mass:


May the angels lead you into paradise,
may the martyrs come to welcome you,
and take you to the holy city,
the new and eternal Jerusalem.

Hat-tip: Thank you to my old campaign manager, Tom Baker, for tracking down the photo above. It was taken at the 2006 Cecil Township Fall Festival.

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