James R. West

Burial Date:

February 1, 2018

Birth & Death Date:

October 31, 1931 - January 28, 2018

Funeral Home:

Hempel Funeral Home (Directions)


Hempel Funeral Home (Directions)

James Richard West (Dick/J.R.) of LaGrange, Ohio, died peacefully on January 28, 2018 at the age of 86. James was preceded in death by his loving wife of 50 years, Carol (nee: Parker). James is survived by his brother Walter (Pat) of Orrville, sons James M. (Sue) of Grafton, Richard L. (Linda) of Amherst, Richard A. (Dianne) of Lakewood, Dennis (Leslie) of Elyria, and daughters Diane Boldman (Gary) of Wooster, Donna DeChant (Tom) of Avon Lake, Janet West (Randy Strauss) of Vermilion, Joan Mullins (Bill) of Avon, Laurie Gayle West (infant, deceased), and 11 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.

Born in Orrville, Ohio, on October 31, 1931 to the late Lloyd and Florence West, James served in the U.S. Air Force for four years as a Radar Expert and was stationed for most of that time at a radar station in the mountains of northern Vermont where he enjoyed fishing and hunting in his spare time. After being discharged, James returned to Orrville, working at Crown Steel as a Production Manager during the day and racing his number 71 stock car on weekends. James was a well-known racer in Orrville and Barberton and won his share of races on both dirt and asphalt tracks.

James left Orrville in the early 1960s to work as a Supervisor for Ford in Lorain. A decade later, he founded West Construction which built custom homes in the Wellington area. In the early 1980s James began working with his sons at West Roofing Systems in LaGrange and helped pioneer the application of spray polyurethane foam in the roofing industry. In fact, James was retained by Exxon to travel to the Nigerian oil fields, where he taught locals how to waterproof and insulate living quarters for the oil workers using spray foam. He spent a total of six months in Nigeria's largest city, Lagos, and on offshore oil rigs.

In the early 2000s, James was employed by the West Development Group and helped the family-owned silicone manufacturer streamline and grow the business. 

James was well into his 70s when he designed and built a par-27 executive golf course named after his race car, "Tour 71."

Just five years ago, James helped navigate over 1,000 miles of the Great Loop with his son Dick, traveling by boat across the entire Erie Canal and from Kentucky to Alabama on the Tenn-Tom Waterway.

James' favorite pastimes were golfing, playing cards, hunting, and fishing. He caught salmon on the Niagara River, striped bass in Texas, walleye on Lake Erie, and trophy northern pike (his favorite fish) in Saskatchewan, Canada. James was known for his sharp, biting wit.

In life, James played many roles: son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, friend, businessman, sportsman and adventurer. He lived a full life and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Friends may call Wedensday, January 31, 2018, from 4-8 p.m. at the Hempel Funeral Home; 373 Cleveland Ave., Amherst. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, at 11:00 a.m. at the funeral home. The Rev. Fr. Frank Kosem, pastor of St. Jude Catholic Church in Elyria, will officiate. Burial will follow at Ridge Hill Memorial Park, Amherst Township.

For those unable to attend please visit the funeral home's website to share a memory and sign the guest register, at www.hempelfuneralhome.com.

Burial Location

Section: T - Masonic I Lot Number: 463 Space: 17


Thank you, we are currently processing your request.

please allow 1-2 days for the headstone to be posted.