~~On September 23rd, Thomas Patrick West died peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family. For the past five months, Tom bravely fought, but ultimately lost, a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.
Tom lived in Basking Ridge, NJ, where he shared a beautiful and loving home and had a local cafe with his best friend and loving wife of twenty eight years, Kathleen Doherty West.
Tom was born in Summit, on October 15, 1955. Tom was raised, educated, and always loved his hometown , Chatham, NJ, where he had touched many lives and made many great memories. He coached and then directed the Chatham Youth Football League for over 20 years. In his honor, the Tom West Award is given out annually to an eighth grade football player who exemplifies Tom’s high standards of commitment, dedication, and spirit for the game.
Tom especially loved his involvement with youth groups. He had been brought into coaching by his dear friend Richie Rears when he was a teenager. Getting involved in coaching was a turning point in Tom’s life. Always kind, patient, giving, yet he would be the first to admit that he may have been “a bit wild”, but used all to his advantage when he realized the impact he could have in his player’s lives and they in turn on his.
Tom also coached numerous recreation programs in Chatham, where everyone knew his name and on the sidelines of many a field and court, you would often hear people ask: Is there any sport that he hasn’t coached? He loved the camaraderie when playing for Herk’s Automotive in Chatham’s softball league, playing golf with friends at the VA Course and participating in countless group and charity sporting events throughout his life.
Tom continued to coach, support, and be an avid sports fan in Basking Ridge, where he moved in 1989, to raise his cherished family with his wife, Kathy. Off the field, he also touched the lives of many of his other “kids”, who worked in his restaurants Limestone Cafe and Mockingbird Café. Tom was the perfect restaurant host, well known for his kind demeanor, casual attire of shorts all year long, and gregarious spirit, which brightened many a day for his numerous customers, purveyors, staff, and anyone lucky enough to know him. Tom was, above all else, a sweet, generous, kind man and you felt privileged whenever he shared his deep heart felt laugh and gave you a wink or hug.
Tom was predeceased by his father William Wescott West and his mother Virginia Rhatigan West. He leaves behind his three siblings, Patricia West Mack, William Wescott West III, and Megan West Brownlow, his in-laws and many adoring nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
He leaves his beloved family of his wife, partner and best friend Kathy West, his grown daughter Rebekah Cowell Sabino and three beautiful granddaughters. He also leaves his darling daughter, Kylie Doherty West, with whom he spent many of his best hours being photographic Sherpa, supporter and encourager in anything she wanted to attempt throughout her childhood and young adult life.
Tom had far too many friends to name, but best buddies Peter Heimrich and Blair Werthmann with whom he “roomed” for years have to be mentioned. The communities he lived and worked in are better for his presence. He will be missed by many and his legacy will be in those carrying on his kind and giving ways.
From the moment he was diagnosed with this terrible disease, Tom never gave up hope and he lived each day with grace and dignity. He was especially moved by the kindness of everyone who helped in his treatment at Summit Medical Group. Each person from the valets, reception desk, lab and infusion services, as well as his doctors and nurses, all provided care that exceeded professionalism, because it was kind, loving and compassionate.
Tom would want to leave everyone with a gentle reminder that life is short, so never hesitate to embrace every moment, be kind, be generous, have a lot of fun and, most importantly, share your own special gift with the world.
Services will be private for family and there will be a celebration of Tom’s life at a later date.
Donations to a college education fund that has been set up for Kylie Doherty West would be greatly appreciated and can be sent to PO Box 289, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920.