James Richard West

See 18 Photos

(September 7, 1937 – October 17, 2020)


1. Life & Family

2. Why We Love Him


Born September 7, 1937 to James H.C. and Flora West in Murray, Utah

Married Sharon Swain November 18, 1959 in the Salt Lake City Temple

Father to:

​Scott (Michelle)

​Robyn Wahlen

​April Ballou (James)

​Kris (Jamie)

​Julie Hunt (Ryan)

27 grandchildren

23 great grandchildren

General Contractor (multiple commercial and private buildings)

Spring Meadows Apartments (General Contractor and co-owner with brother Robert West & Sister Margie Hazelgren)

Creator of the most beautiful handcrafted pens. All who received one will cherish them forever.


The temporal life of James Richard West, “Jim,” came to a close on the 17th of October in the year of our Lord 2020. His final moments were like a tapestry of the elements he most cherished during his time on earth. He was in his Draper home embraced by the love of his life, Sharon. A loving union of more than 60 years had produced five adoring children Scott, Robyn, April, Kristoffer, and Juliette who weaved their own special gifts into Jim’s final pattern. His earthly work was complete, and the tapestry finalized as if by hands from beyond the veil, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…”

It’s common to hear that the passing of a loved one is experienced by each person differently but as members of the human family there are certain aspects shared by all. Jim’s family lost not just a beloved husband and father but the family patriarch and mentor. Using the talents he was blessed with he altered the course of countless lives – some through his inexhaustible generosity or through his ability to relate to anyone, in any place and to share a bit of the tenderness and humility that were hallmarks of his character.

Some experiences are impossible to understand because we cannot put ourselves in the place of either person in the interaction. I’m speaking now of the family’s request to select me to write what you are reading. It would be difficult to find someone who feels less qualified and less worthy to write about the man who has been my guide, teacher, and friend for more than three decades. I am incredibly moved by the family’s request and consider it the most important document I have ever written.

My identity is less important than the two factors making this document what it is. First, I’m only the one doing the writing. Hundreds of people knew and loved Jim, and any could have written this document given all of the information provided to me. Therefore, this document is a testament to James R. West by recording his qualities and serving as a synopsis of a man who deeply affected us all.

Two, the audience of this document is narrow. Jim’s daughter April said, “Write as though my mom and dad are the only people in your audience. Include the things that would make them happy.” With that guidance, this document provides the most poignant and special elements about Jim’s character that make him capable of so much good.

The lessons Jim taught came from a lifetime in the service of his fellow men. Whether he was serving as Bishop, on the High Council, in the youth organization, or in any other calling his emphasis was on the human condition. The human condition often leaves no room for error and allows little tolerance for those who have fallen. Jim was a powerful advocate for patience and long-suffering.

Whether through his plain-spoken lessons on life, stories about major construction projects, or spiritual experiences that profoundly affected his testimony it was always evident that Jim focused on the lesson to be understood and went out of his way to downplay his own role. Many men would use experiences like Jim’s to build themselves up, to expand their importance, or impress their audience. His natural humility served as an effective bulwark against any self-aggrandizement. In addition, most of his stories came with a lesson about the necessity of humility generally accompanied by a self-deprecating story to emphasize the lesson.

Described as a general contractor or developer by others I only heard him describe himself as a carpenter. His work and the work of the Savior’s earthly father are a powerful and telling parallel. Though not charged with raising the Savior of Mankind, Jim raised two sons and three daughters to understand the teachings of the Savior and to understand that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is about action as much as it is about faith. His natural inclinations gave Jim the power to shape lives in a similar way in which he shaped earth, wood, and stone.

As the life of his temporal body neared its end, no one could doubt that he had given everything possible. It may seem unfair that an earthly life filled with good works, spiritual progress, and an enduring faith would conclude with pain and misery. A close friend of the family who has suffered from chronic pain for a decade shared these thoughts, “I can’t help but wonder if the test Lookin’ for glass is more for the family than for the individual experiencing the pain. After all, doctors search for methods to ease suffering, medicines are developed to more effectively reduce pain, and every effort is made to help the patient cope with the misery. On the other hand, no efforts are made to soothe the agony of family members, no medications are prescribed for loved ones who must watch a family member writhe in pain, and no salve is applied to the heart that has been broken by the loss of a loved one.”

James Richard West has done all for us he can. He was a good provider, a community leader, a church exemplar, a loving father, a devoted husband, and a devoted Latter-day Saint. It’s now our turn to use the lessons he taught in striving to make the world a better place. May we find ourselves as well positioned to move on to the next phase of the plan of salvation as Jim did and may we endure to the end

From son Scott:

R.I.P Father, Mentor, Staff Sargent Army, King Football, MVP… You have certainly made a significant difference in my life. The Heavens have opened, and you have returned home with honor.

1. My father taught me the difference between a good job and a great job is an extra 15 minutes.

2. He taught me how to love family unconditionally.

3. He taught me that it was as important to have integrity as it was to win.

4. He taught me to work hard and play hard, but always make time for family.

5. My father was a master craftsman and General Contractor and he taught me how to read plans, build incredible buildings and homes.

6. He was a spiritual giant!

#Army #NailBender #Father #Grandfather #DevotedHusband #Brother #Friend #Example #Provider #Mentor #Bishop #Service #CommunityLeader #UnconditionalLove

When my father passed, he was surrounded by the love of his family and embraced by the love of his life, “Mom” - passing away from natural causes at age 83.

My father served in the Army stationed in Fort Douglas UT, Fort Ord CA, Fort Sill OK, and Fort Hood TX, was activated to Berlin crisis in Germany. He was an “Expert” marksman, riffle M1 and was decorated with expert badges for precise shooting. He served as sound ranging crewman in the 140th Artillery Battalion and 11th Core Field Artillery.

I will forever remember, love, and look up to you dad! Thank you for loving me!

Wednesday Oct 21st 11am to 1pm.

Jenkins-Soffe 1007 West South Jordan Parkway, South Jordan, UT

Viewing from 11am to 1pm

Travel to Camp Williams for graveside services at 1:30-2pm

Address Camp Williams:

17111 1700 W, Bluffdale, UT 84065





Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020 11:00 AM - 12:45 PM
1007 W South Jordan Parkway
South Jordan, UT 84095

Graveside Service

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020 1:30 PM - 2:00 PM
17111 South Camp Williams Road
Bluffdale, UT 84101

Life Story Info

Post Date

Oct 19, 2020

Personal Info

Cause of Death






Religion and Beliefs

Latter-day Saint


Construction & Skilled Trades

Military Affiliation

  • Army
Concerned about this Life Story? Please let us know.
NEXT Avery "Reb" ElRay Oxley Avery "Reb" ElRay Oxley


I want to send my deepest sympathy and love to Sharon and to their children Scott, Robyn, April, Kris and Julie. I knew this great family for a very long time Jim was always very kind to me and my family they all were. He was a very kindhearted willing to help anyone kind of person that I remember. All of our love goes to all his family and loved ones at this time. ❤️

Kim Webber Lake and son Justin Tuft

Kim Lake , St George, UT, US Oct 22, 2020

Our deepest condolences for your loss Jim was a wonderful man and loved by our family.

Robert Sirrine , Draper, UT, US Oct 21, 2020

I grew up loving this family, so sorry for your loss

star mccauley rosenlund graves , south jordan, UT, US Oct 21, 2020

The memories are many from so long ago when we were all just teenage boys hanging around at the West's and Spring Meadows Apartments. Some of us were lucky and got to work for Jim, mostly just cleaning up someone else's messes but boy we thought we were tough ole construction workers at the time! Jim bless his heart, he sure made us feel like the clean up was as important as the frame up. As life went forward a few years for me in the construction industry I realized Jim wasn't just trying to make us feel important as clean up kids we truly were important, and Jim in his crafty way was giving us a lesson in life!!

There are so many things like this that Jim has done for me and so many others and we should all take a page from his book and insert it into our daily lives and make the world a better place like he did while he was here!

I do have one thing that I never could quite figure out the lesson he was giving but maybe some day it will come to me " why so many boxes of new white sneakers in the basement" ? Luv ya much, until we meet again!!

Jerry & Colette Salt , South Jordan , UT, US Oct 20, 2020

Pleased to have known Jim. He was a good example to me, especially in temple service.

Keith Saunders , Sandy, UT, US Oct 20, 2020

Scott, we are saddened to hear of the passing of your dad. After reading his life story, we are amazed at his influence on so many. What a great life! Of course, knowing the kind of person you are, and dear Michelle, it's really no surprise at all, that your wonderful dad had such a fabulous son and family. We are praying for comfort and love especially at this time. Alice and Dick

Alice Baland & Dick Mallett Oct 19, 2020

Thank you Jim for always being so incredibly kind and generous and full of wonderful stories.. 🙂

Mitch Border , Ogden, UT, US Oct 19, 2020