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Donnamarie and George West

Beginning on page two are (1) a link to Larry Ward’s spirit reflection that couldn’t be inserted into the zoom program in a timely fashion, (2) Dick Alton’s spirit reflection that couldn’t be heard due to technical problems, and (3) additional stories and comments sent after the event. Finally, there are (4) links to the music for those who might like to hear them without “zoom distortions.”




Online Memorial Service


Saturday, June 4, 2022 —



George Randall West

June 13, 1933 – May 31, 2021


Call to Attention: Terry Bergdall


Celebrating Life’s Journey in Song: “The Courage to Care,” Lela Philbrook


Sacred Poetry: “The Prologue from The Saviors of God,” Judith Hamje


Spirit Reflection: Larry Ward and Dick Alton


Stories Celebrating George’s Life:


  • Family – Kathy Cawthon
  • EI/OE/ICA – Karen Snyder
  • Litibu EcoVillage – Salvatore Caruso
  • Friends, Family, and Colleagues – open invitation of those in attendance


Celebrating Life’s Journey in Song:  “Morning of Freedom,” Lela Philbrook


Benediction: Terry Bergdall


YouTube link to an edited version of the Memorial Service held for George West, June 4, 2022: (47 minutes)


From Larry Ward

Hello Beloved Ones

A few words of gratitude about George West:

Grace and Peace,


“What I planned to say” about Death by Dick Alton, Chicago:

I would like to take a moment to reflect on death- it seems to be my constant companion. In fact, I am fascinated with death. Want to share two reflections with you today. First, although Larry Ward could not be with us, I would like to share some of his new book and then a final reflection.

Just read Larry’s new book, “America Racial Karma”, at the end of the book he talks of practices that enables one to act with integrity in the present. He starts every day when he wakes up with the Buddha’s 5 Remembrances. He reads the 5 lines and after each line takes a breath. I am going to read a line and if you could take a short breath afterwards.

  • I am of the nature to grow old. Breath
  • I am of the nature to have ill health. Breath
  • I am the nature to die. Breath
  • All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. Breath
  • My actions are my only belongings. Breath

In the face of great loss, no words convey the sadness we feel for those who loved George West. Yet we dare to say Death is neither a curse nor a blessing, an end, or a beginning, but only that it is a wondrous, frightening and redemptive reality. It is a step into the Unknown Unknown. It is sacred, and it is good.

Even though Death is universal, it is also unique—because every life is unrepeatable. It arrives in its own time and is always shocking, even when it is anticipated. It can be painful or peaceful, timely or not, tragic or strangely welcome, or all of the above at once. We don’t choose the manner or the moment and can only respond by acknowledging its finality and trusting what was, is and will be. We go on.

Whether you celebrate death as a Home Going or as a finality that prevents you from being with your loved one physically, acknowledging death is important. We accompany you in your grief. We pray for you in your journey. We hope for your experience of being accompanied by the Divine Spirit. May it sustain you in your sorrow. Our hearts are with you.


From Marilyn Crocker

What a lovely tribute to the life and service of George.  I, like Martha, remember the power of George’s Spirit Conversations.  Many of us learned the process well enough to lead meaningful reflections and touch on “the profound” with topics like “tears,“ or “fire”, or “birth,” but George was able to “bleed profound meaning” out of something as inanimate as “a pentel pencil”.  The latter was a tool of the mission he carried in his shirt pocket always, loaded with the .7 size lead — just perfect for building 4 X 4 charts.  Another memory that holds for me his willingness to experiment to create “something out of nothing” was his hydroponic garden on his porch in Litibu, laden with juicy tomatoes, hanging upside down.  And finally, I am embarrassed to admit like others, I can’t remember the year George and Donnamarie were married and I should, because Joe and I were asked to stand in as “his parents” and give the family blessing, as it were.  This was comical to me, because although Joe was 5 years older than George, I was 10 years younger.  From then on I felt I had permission to say, “Now son, I need to share this with you…..” to which his eyes would twinkle and he would quietly chuckle.

Thanks again for making this community event happen.


From Karen Snyder:

Thank you for taking the leadership on providing this reflective time together in celebrating George’s life!!  He was such an influence on my life in our Litibu years together.

Here are some links to add to the compiled memories from the Memorial Service today. 


From Lynda Cock:

When we were interning in Chicago, we moved into the Wests apt. at 314 S. Trumbull.  (I think that was the address….near the Preschool). It was pretty rough, but a move up from the bunk beds and a desk in the dorm side of the building (above Room E side).   They had knocked a hole in between studs with some remodeling in process, giving Johnny a little space of his own.   We had a big double sized loft bed with desks underneath and a sofa with broken springs that practically sank to the floor.  But with their Picasso print of the Blue Man, I thought we were in Hippy Heaven.   I think they had left for the Urban Academy.

Later John was in Cano Negro with George for the consult.  We remember George as a very quiet man, full of wisdom and care for local people.  His book on community building was a real gift to us all.


From Jack Gilles:

I have two stories to tell about George. One is about our conversations together and the other is about Transportation.

No one spoke more with George as I did for all the years he was here. The fact that he enjoyed pipes was revealed to me as I often visited while smoking mine. He would comment on it and I would inform him a bit of the history of that particular one and the tobacco I smoked.

Our conversations were either one of two topics; either Theology or Politics. George was always reading a book. Usually it was a book of one of the sources we had through RS-I ñile Bpnhoeffer or Tillich pr One of JWM’s talks from his two volume set. I would listen to his insights and then comment on them myself. We always enjoyed the discussions.

The second area of conversation was Politics. He was a fan on Rachel Maddow, and I watched Morning Joe.. This was the long run-up to the 2000 election that led to Donald Trump. Right up until the result was in I was sure that Hillary Clinton would win and he kept worrying that Trump would. Like so many Liberals I thought that Hillary would come through it. But she didn’t. I had to apologize to George for being wrong and we would talk and talk about it.

The second item about George was his transportation. George was a horseman. In the early days of building his house he owned a horse and kept it in the village. Finally he had to give it up as it was costing him to much!

His second mode of transportation was a four wheeler that Mike Stringer gave to him many years ago. Right up to the year of his death George would find time to use the 4 wheeler to go and get thigs from the Village.

Finally there was the car, a 1985 Oldsmobile made in 1988. I believe Donna Marie’s father gave it to them. George babied that car every time he drove it. It had such good shocks that the bumpy road had no affect on. We called it the “Float-mobile” . As George aged he used it less and less until finally he had to sell it to the mechanic in Higuera.. It is still sitting their waiting for repair.

That is all I have to say about this topic.


From Bill Schlesinger:

George was – I think – my first ‘First Teacher’ in RS-1 ‘out.’  I was probably 23 or 24 and feeling pretty young.  George said something like, “Fix yourself in your mind that you’re 35.”  I still do!


Here is a link to the two songs Lela sang during the memorial:

Below is a link to the instrumental music at the end of George’s memorial from the Anders Widmark Trio, “Lov, Ära Och Pris:”