GLEN ROSE - Billy Leon West, 81, loving husband, father, and grandfather, died on Monday, July 28, 2008.

Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 31, 2008, at Wiley Funeral Home. Burial followed in Squaw Creek Cemetery.

Leon was born on March 3, 1927, in Glen Rose, the second son of John and Esther West.

At the height of World War II and barely 17, Leon volunteered to serve in the US Navy. His service took him to the Pacific Fleet aboard the “Yogi”, a tanker serving in the South Pacific and China Sea where he had many amazing experiences including surviving, unharmed, the tremendous Typhoon Louise that struck Buckner Bay, Okinawa in Oct. 1945, which sunk 12 ships and grounded 222 more.

Leon began working at a young age to help his mother support their family after his dad, John, died from wounds he sustained in World War II. Soon this work included breaking horses for Big Jack Bridges. Leon always loved horses and was a good horseman. After returning from the war, Leon completed his education, rode broncs in area rodeos, started his career and married the love of his life, Dora Barclay on June 12, 1948. They set about starting their family with Rick in 1949, Bob in 1953, and a final surprise, Brad, in 1962.

In 1968, Leon and Doty made their family home on the bonny banks of the Brazos River where they kept cows, horses and chickens and always had a huge garden. They also had peach and plum trees from which Doty made jelly and a huge pecan orchard that helped fund many Christmases. Doty and Pa, as the grandkids called them, worked hard on the place and had a lot of fun raising cows, building fences, and doing the ordinary chores of a small farm.

For almost 50 years, Leon was a well-known massage therapist sought out by thousands of folks for his ability to bring relief to those in pain. He learned his craft at the historic Snyder Sanitarium made famous during the first half of the 20th century as a health spa where people came to bathe in the natural mineral waters of Glen Rose and take treatments from the chiropractors and therapists. After the closure of the Sanitarium in 1976, Leon kept his office at the Shady Inn on Barnard Street in Glen Rose until he retired at the end of 1996.

Concerned about his patients, clients and friends, Leon was happy to see of his techniques and skills live on as he mentored and transitioned his practice to his friend, Dale Glass, RMT.

At the ripe young age of 65, Leon took up golf. He soon became a regular at Squaw Valley, playing with J.E. Jackson, William Wilson, Gerald Wood, his son, Brad, and many others looking for a nice, relaxed game. He made a hole-in-one just a couple of years after taking up the game.

Leon had a wonderful wife and a great family and more friends than he could ever count. His family is sad their Dad has left them, but they know he is in a better place. He and Doty lived an amazing love story that has endured more than 60 years, and through his family, it will live on forever.

He is preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Gary (Gabe) West and Mike Norman.

Survivors include his wife of more than 60 years, Dora Dawn (Doty) West; sons, Rick West and wife Ruth, Bob West and Brad West and wife Beverly; brother, Robert West of Los Angeles, Calif.; grandchildren, Suzanne Boatright and husband Tom, Craig West and wife Kacia, and Ryan Lee West and wife Halley; and great-grandchildren, Braeden and Rylan.

Published Aug. 7, 2008

Glen Rose Reporter