Richard “Dick” West has come to live with us at Caring House. We’re honored.
Dick was born in Fort Collins, Colorado to Helen and Wilfred West. A twin whose sibling died at birth, Dick grew up as an only child.
When he was seven, his family moved to San Francisco, CA, where they remained until after he was married. His father worked for Nabisco and started off delivering cookies and crackers in a horse-drawn carriage until they modernized and started using trucks. Dick started working in a local grocery store when he was 13 as a bag boy, converting his pay into war bonds. He worked through school and played basketball for fun. His parents bought their first house using their savings and the war bonds that Dick earned from being a box boy.
Dick and his father were involved in the Boy Scouts of America, where Dick became an Eagle Scout. Dick’s father received the order of the Silver Beaver for his service to the Boy Scouts.
Dick attended University of California, Berkeley and obtained his degree in business. His extensive military service started with the Marine Corp Reserve (during high school) and then moved to the Air Force National Guard (most of his unit perished at Inchon, Korea). After college he joined the Army. During his Army service he went to Eniwetok Atoll and saw the test of the Hydrogen bomb on Bikini Atoll. When he left the service he was a Staff Sergeant with a rocker.
After the Army, Dick worked for National Cash Register (NCR) and excelled at sales. He believes that when you commit to something, you should put your all into it and excel. He put that belief into practice year after year as an award-winning salesman for NCR. His sales rewards included all-expense-paid trips to Mexico, Hawaii, Florida, the Caribbean and New York.
Dick and Doris “Dori” Shootman married in 1960. Shortly after marrying, his work took them to Seattle, WA, where they scrimped and saved and bought their first house and they welcomed their two children (David and Debra). In 1966 he was transferred back to the San Francisco area by NCR and they bought a house in Alameda near Dori’s folks.
In 1971, they transferred to Los Angeles. Dick became a branch manager for NCR so that he would not have to travel (and could have more time for the kids). Dori was able to find a house in Palos Verdes that they purchased for $40,000, really stretching the budget again.
Dick worked for over 20 years at NCR before leaving and becoming a local salesman, selling printing and forms for several different companies. Dori made the dollar stretch and worked as a bookkeeper when times were especially lean.
Their move to Palos Verdes gave them a chance to settle down. They made lifelong friends, connecting with other newcomers to the area. Within their group the women shopped together and helped each other find good deals for food and decorating. The men banded as well and would play tennis or golf together (sometimes with the women, other times without). They formed a unit and became known as the “wild bunch” where they would have a dinner party monthly with the different couples.
In the 1970s a friend of Dick’s had just bought a small company and asked if he would run it. Dick started managing Check Recovery Corporation (collection agency for bad checks). A year later, he and the friend negotiated Dick buying the company. which he ran until he retired in 1987. Check Recovery was a family business where Dori helped with the books and the kids did many different jobs.
Additional social organizations were added like Las Madricitas, and Los Fiestedores, where they would gather, enjoy each other, good food and dancing. They would socialize several weekends a month either at others houses or local restaurants where they could dance the night away. Dick enjoyed playing tennis and golf on weekends, and skiing in the winter. Dick and Dori really enjoyed a good party and when they came home early and the kids were having company over, they would join in the fun and would last longer than the kids. To this day, they are loved and fondly remember by their kids’ friends.
Dick and Dori enjoyed retirement. Dick would play golf 3 times a week – during the week, with the “boys,” and on weekends with several couples. After playing golf they would often gather at one of the houses and put together dinner, followed by poker or other entertainment. They would also travel with one or two major trips (2-3 weeks annually) and other weekend trips to play golf or explore another area. They enjoyed many car trips around California and Arizona. Hawaii was a favorite location to visit as well.
In the early 2000s, Dori fell and broke her hip, and then began suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. In December 2004, she was diagnosed with cancer, and she succumbed to cancer in May 2005, just after their 45th anniversary.
Later on, Dick was introduced to the friend of a friend and began dating Anne Gannon. Anne’s husband had died. They found that they had similar interests and starting enjoying each other and life again. They danced and travelled the world with one of their first trips being to the Mediterranean. They also explored Hawaii, Albuquerque for the balloon fiesta, Colorado and Canada for train tours, Palm Desert, San Diego, Arizona, and San Francisco (going back to Dick’s roots).
Dick downsized and sold the house in Palos Verdes, moving then to a condo (also in PV) that overlooked Trump Golf course and Catalina. Anne referred to the Condo as Dick’s beach house.
They were able to spend 10 years enjoying love, companionship and fun adventures before Anne needed extra care and moved to Sacramento to receive that care.
We’re glad that Dick is with us at Caring House. His sense of fun and the sparkle in his eye charm us all. He welcomes one and all. You can readily see how he was so successful at sales.
Dick died February 8, 2017. Honor him. Remember him.