René Theresa West, 87, passed away in Albuquerque, NM on Wednesday, July 3, 2019. Born on Monday, March 21, 1932 in Marshfield, WI, René graduated from Divine Savior High School in Milwaukee, WI. René received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Nursing Administration from Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Her nursing career took her to Muskogee, OK, where she met Dick West, whom she married on December 20, 1969. They lived in Muskogee, Lawrence, KS, and Fort Gibson, OK; after Dick’s retirement from Bacone College, they moved to Tijeras, NM to be near Dick’s son, Jim, and his family.
René taught in the newly-established nursing program at Bacone College in Muskogee. She continued her nursing career in a community nursing program in Lawrence, and at the Veteran's Hospitals in Muskogee and Albuquerque, NM. In 1991, she received a US Government commendation for the quality and care she gave to her work, students, and patients. René loved to travel, crossing the country to visit friends and family, and going on international excursions with Dick, visiting Europe, Scandinavia, the South Pacific, and taking a cruise through the Panama Canal on which she—with her legendary gaming luck—won enough money in the ship’s casino to pay for their trip. After Dick’s passing, she continued to travel on tours and with friends, visiting Canada, Alaska, and China, where she climbed the Great Wall. At home, René loved to garden and spent countless hours tending flowers, vegetables, trees, and planting a wildflower garden in honor of her husband’s passing. René was predeceased by her husband of 26 years, W. Richard (Dick) West, Sr.; her parents, Harry and Josephine Wagner; brothers, Raymond Wagner, Myron Wagner, and James Wagner; and sister, Sylvia Wagner. She is survived by her stepsons, W. Richard (Rick) West, Jr. and wife Mary Beth, and James (Jim) West and wife Elaine; grandchildren, Karin West-Weekes and husband Patrick, Christina West-McDonald and husband Kelly, Amy West, and Benjamin West; great-grandchildren, Julianna McDonald, Garrett Weekes, Braden McDonald, Gavin Weekes, Oliver West, and Finnian West.
A Celebration of René’s Life will be held Wednesday, July 31, 2019, 11:00 a.m. at FRENCH – Lomas. Family and friends may gather beginning at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, René’s family requests that donations be made in her honor to the Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org).
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