Wesley West

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Wesley W. West
Wesley West as a young man.jpg
Born Wesley Wendell West
June 6, 1906
Died 1984
Citizenship US
Years active Early to late 20th century
Known for Oil, lumber, and ranching tycoon
Spouse(s) Neva Yvonne (née Watkins) West
Children Wesley West, Betty Ann West Stedman, James W. West
Parent(s) James Marion West, Sr. and Jessie Gertrude (née Dudley) West
Relatives James Marion West, Jr. (brother), Mildred West-Hewitt (sister)

Wesley West was the second son of James Marion West and younger brother of James Marion West, Jr.. Like his brother and father before him, he was a noted Texas rancher, oilman, and philanthropist. He founded Wesley West Minerals, a mineral rights owning entity currently operating in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and New Mexico, and Wesley West Cattle L.P.[1]

He married Neva Yvonne (née Watkins) in 1930. Together, they would have three children; sons Wesley (who died of leukemia at age seven) and James W., and daughter Betty Ann.[2]

The Houston Police Department memorial, built in part with funds donated by Neva West

Along with his wife, Wesley was a noteworthy patron of the arts in the Houston area with gifts to the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Symphony, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Wesley and Neva also donated generously to the Baylor College of Medicine, the Texas Medical Center, and Texas A&M Health Science Center.[2] The Neva and Wesley West Chair at A&M is named in their honor (currently held by Magnus Hook )[3] as is the Neva and Wesley West Scholarship in the College of Business Administration at Sam Houston State University.[4] Together, they founded the Neva and Wesley West Foundation, now the Stedman West Foundation, which continues their philanthropic activities through the present day.[5]

West inherited the West Ranch in Blanco County, Texas from his father James M. West, Sr.. The West Ranch Airport (XS75), a privately owned field with a single 5,561 foot strip, is located on the property some 8 nautical miles west of the town of Round Mountain.

Neva Yvonne (née Watkins) West

Friendship with Lyndon Johnson[edit]

West co-owned KBTC radio in Austin along with businessmen E.G. Kingsbury and Robert B. Anderson (former State of Texas Tax Commissioner and future Secretary of the Treasury). Kingsbury had been an opponent of Johnson’s political ambitions but thanks to Johnson’s assistance in getting his son admitted to the United State Naval Academy, he agreed to give Johnson his ownership of the station.[6] Johnson traveled to the West Ranch in the Texas Hill Country to persuade Wesley to sell his interest in the company. A conservative Republican, West was skeptical at first, but the two had a personal connection that would lead to lifetime friendship. West sold his portion of KBTC (now KLBJ) to Johnson (the actual ownership was in Lady Bird Johnson’s name). The two men and their families would remain close in the following years, with the Johnsons being frequent guests at the West Ranch near Stonewall, Texas along with fellow West friend and associate Stuart Symington.[7][8] Mrs. Johnson would refer to Neva as "the sweetest friend I have ever known".[2]

Philanthropy[edit]

West and his wife were philanthropists giving to a variety of causes. Two of these, higher education and the arts, stand out. West gave funds to create the Neva and Wesley West Scholarship in the College of Business Administration at Sam Houston State University. Together, they gave generously to the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston notably to the Department of Ophthalmology. The Neva and Wesley West Chair in the Texas A&M Health Sciences Center, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Houston, Institute of Biosciences and Technology was created to fund faculty conducting research to ultimately aid in the treatment of infectious diseases.[2] They also gave generously to the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world, of which Neva was a lifetime Director. Upon her death in 2007, the Texas Medical Center flags were flown at half-mast for days.[2] His wife Neva was a true patron of the arts, giving numerous donations to the Houston Grand Opera (of which she was a member of the board), the Houston Symphony, and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts (of which she was a lifetime trustee). The Houston Symphony gave a concert gala in her honor in 1993.[2] Together, Wesley and Neva would create the Neva and Wesley West Foundation, now the Stedman West Foundation, which continues their philanthropic activities.[5] The foundation gave funds to aid in the creation of Jesus Bautista Moroles' Houston Police Officer's Memorial in 1990.

Homes[edit]

West inherited many properties and associated businesses from his father's estate, much of which he shared with his brother James Jr. Two of these were the Indio and Chupadero ranches. In 1960, West divided these ranches with James Jr.'s heirs keeping the consolidated middle sections of the properties. He named these 40,000 acres the Faith Ranch. The ranch is maintained by descendants of his daughter Betty Ann West Stedman.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Stedman West interests, Inc". Stedman West Interests, Inc. Retrieved July 31, 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Lynwood Abram (April 1, 2007). "Neva West donated generously to the arts and medicine". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved February 6, 2013.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  3. ^ "Texas A&M Health Science Center, Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Faculty". Texas A&M Health Science Center, Institute of Biosciences and Technology. Retrieved July 31, 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ "COBA Scholarships and Awards". College of Business Administration, Sam Houston State University. Retrieved July 31, 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  5. ^ a b "Stedman West Foundation". GuideStar. Retrieved July 31, 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  6. ^ McKean, David.# (2005). Peddling Influence: Thomas "Tommy the Cork" Corcoran and the Birth of Modern Lobbying. Steerforth Press, Hanover, NH
  7. ^ "Lady Bird Johnson Home Movie #21: The Johnsons visit the West Ranch in 1950". Video on YouTube. Retrieved July 31, 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  8. ^ "On This Day in History". Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, Research Collections. Retrieved July 31, 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  9. ^ "Ranch Location and History". www.faithranch.com/. Retrieved June 10, 2013.