June 3, 2023

Leon West Obituary – Death, Member Of The Portage Board of Zoning Appeals Has Passed Away

Leon West Obituary, Death – Leon West, 88, of McKinney, Texas and Portage, Indiana, died peacefully with family on January 4, 2023. Luxora, Arkansas was his hometown. Beverly West (Calvert), Leon’s 66-year wife, survives him. He is survived by his daughters Kerri Nelson (Craig), Kathy Maehling (Bob), and Ken West (Ann), as well as six grandchildren: Blake Nelson (Jessica), Paige Nelson (Ryan), Andrew Schneider (Megan), Claire West, Duncan West, Lou West, and three great-grandchildren: Lydia Schneider, Scarlett Schneider, and James Nelson. Loved his family. Leon worked hard and was dedicated to his community. He was proud of his Army service from 1957-1959 (Fort Lee, VA) and 1961-1962. (El Paso, TX). He spent 42 years at US Steel Company in Gary, Indiana, rising to General Foreman of the nation’s largest machine shop.

Leon served eighteen years on the Portage City Council, Portage Board of Zoning Appeals, Porter County Council, Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, and Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District board. Leon was regarded by his party for helping the Porter County Democratic Party succeed. He founded Portage as a Democratic precinct committeeman in 1968. Leon was Porter County Democratic Chairman and Indiana First District Chairman from 1994 to 2007. He inspired many local activists, regardless of party. He knocked on doors and included as many individuals as possible to unite Porter County Democrats. Leon enjoyed delegating to many Democratic National Conventions.
Leon volunteered alongside his civil service.

Leon joined the Portage Jaycees, Exchange Club, Dunes Lodge #741, and Shriners. He founded Gabriel’s Horn, a Porter County homeless refuge for women and children.
Leon received Indiana’s highest accolade, the Sagamore of the Wabash, from the late governor Frank O’Bannon in 1997 for his volunteerism. Leon loved family and life. Leon and his wife moved to McKinney, Texas, in 2007 to be near family. He carried his kindness. He tutored second graders and volunteered with Meals on Wheels. He chased, laughed, and nipped his grandchildren’s toes. He often watched sports from the front row and admired their achievements. He smiled, laughed, and was witty. Leon made others grin when he entered a room. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, mentor, and friend.