Robert Louis West

LONG ISLAND — Robert “Bob” Louis West, a music teacher who loved boats and served in the Naval Reserve, loved his family most of all. He died peacefully on Thursday, June 2, 2022, surrounded by his family. He was 85.
Born Jan. 4, 1937, he was the son of Louis L. West and Aloysia Bischoff. After his mother’s death, he was adopted by Dorothy Seelig West, his father’s second wife, and happily had a “second mother.”

“Growing up in Seaford, Long Island led to an enthusiasm for boating,” his family wrote in a tribute. “Bob served as a mate on fishing boats and, while a senior in high school, enlisted in the Naval Reserve. Serving for eight years, he attained the rank of second class communications technician.

“Studying and practicing the violin was a part of Bob’s life from age 6, a practice he continued as he attained a bachelor of arts degree from Hofstra University. Knowing that teaching would be his career choice, Bob then pursued and was awarded a master of science degree in education with an emphasis in supervision.

“He began his teaching career at Harborfields High School as chorus director and general music teacher. Later, working in the Hicksville school system, he taught strings to all levels and conducted the orchestras at the junior and senior high schools, always striving to have his students convey the emotional components of a piece. His career culminated with his appointment as director of Fine Arts in the Hicksville School System.

“Throughout his years of teaching, Bob always found time to perform, playing with the Massapequa Philharmonic Orchestra, The Merrick Symphony Orchestra, and other local groups. During this time, he also continued to play piano, flute, and guitar, and built a Schober Recital Organ and later a harpsichord.

“Bob made friends everywhere he went and would talk to anyone, about anything, for hours, treating everyone he met with kindness and respect.

“Bob enjoyed a full 30-year retirement, exploring his many talents and continuing to pursue his numerous hobbies. He loved woodworking and made many of the pieces in his home. His model of the USS Constitution holds a place of honor in the living room.

“Combining woodworking with his love of music led Bob to craft four violins and a guitar. He later turned his talents to bird carving. Volunteering at the Sayville Maritime Museum, where he helped restore historic boats and build new ones, gave him an opportunity to combine his many talents.

“Bob loved the outdoors, boating, snow skiing, target shooting, hiking in the Adirondack High Peaks, camping, exploring parks and woodlands in Florida, and riding his teal blue and cream Harley Heritage Softail.

“Most of all, Bob loved his family. He was a devoted grandfather and enjoyed watching his grandsons grow, teaching them all about music, woodworking, shooting, mechanics, boating, and flying RC planes. His knowledge will live in them forever.”

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Robert Louis West is survived by his beloved family, his wife of 54 years, Virginia Ziegler West; his daughter, Jennifer West Curry; his son, Robert C. West; his daughter-in-law, Catherine Reiszel West; his grandsons, Ryan Curry, Nicholas Curry, Benjamin West, and William West; his sister-in-law, Patricia Ziegler; and his niece, Wendy Smith.

A memorial celebration of life will be held at a later date.

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