Lawrence West

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Mr. Herbert Lawrence West, 94, husband of the late Emma Parks West and a native of Cheriton, passed away Friday, May 17, 2024, at Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital in Norfolk.

He was the son of the late Herbert R. West and the late Stella N. Horsley West. He was a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, retired owner of H.R. West and Son Grocery for 45 years, retired owner of H.R. West and Son Trucking, a founding father and a 76-year charter member of the Cheriton Volunteer Fire Company as well as chief engineer for over 60 consecutive years. He also served his beloved Town of Cheriton as town councilman for 18 years.

He is survived by his nieces, Joanne Edmondson and her husband, Bill, Sandy Parker and her fiancé, Bill Powell, and Ann Walker, as well as numerous great-nieces and great-nephews; and cousin, Mary Lena Mears and her husband, Wayne, and multiple other cousins. He was predeceased by a nephew, Billy T. Parks.

The heartbeat of Lawrence’s life was his beautiful wife, Emma, who was always carrying a sunshine smile and a twinkle in her eyes. Without question, he adored the ground on which she walked. He’d tell you the story of his first sight of her stunning smile and shining black hair on a blind date at the old Radium Theatre. Asked once, “Do you remember the movie?” his reply was, “not a single solitary second, just Emma’s breathtaking smile! We had nothing when we began but each other … That’s all we needed!”

Lawrence was the last of the founding fathers of the Cheriton Volunteer Fire Company, having faithfully served since its inception in 1948 until 2011, many of those years as chief engineer. In later years he could be found volunteering at bingo or other fundraising events. His dedication to serving his fellow man goes without words but with a life lived of total loyal, sacrificial service night and day.

He was named Fireman of the Year with Cheriton Volunteer Fire Company in 1992. He received the Outstanding Service Award presented by Cheriton Volunteer Fire Company in 1993. He was inducted into The Delmarva Fireman’s Hall of Fame in 2001. He received a commendation by the General Assembly of Virginia in 2001. He received an Eastville Volunteer Fire Company Lifetime Service Award in 2015. And you will find Cheriton Firehouse Bay proudly displays its being dedicated to Lawrence in 2011.

His back porch, which gazes over toward his much-loved firehouse in the distance, would find many friends gathered almost every afternoon for “good town talk.” He was heard saying on many occasions, “Cheriton, if there were any better place on Earth, God would have kept it for Himself.”

Lawrence would reminisce about the old days of Cheriton, when Cheriton Station around the tracks hosted four grocery stores, a movie theater, gristmill, train depot, G.L. Webster Canning Factory, and a blacksmith, as well as a lumberyard nearby. He loved his town fiercely and served it with the same passion in the role of a Cheriton town councilman from 1994 to 2012. He was presented the key to the Town of Cheriton in 2012. 

Oyster held a soft spot in his heart, too. That is where his father, Herbert R. West, began his grocery store in the early 1920s. Lawrence would recount, “He had me stocking and sweeping at the age of 6.” Even though Lawrence was only 4 at the time, he could recall his father’s store being flooded during the massive storm of August 1933. After the next big storm in 1937 flooded their store again, his father bought a building in Cheriton and moved the store there.

To his community of the Eastern Shore of Virginia, he was named Community Star for outstanding community service by Hampton Roads News Channel 3 and named Citizen of the Year by the Northampton County Chamber of Commerce in 2007.

Lawrence’s greatest achievement, however, was on Christmas Day 2023, when he wholeheartedly welcomed Jesus in his heart. He talked of “In the Garden” being his favorite hymn. His favorite line was “and He walks with me, and He talks with me.”

He was blessed with some of the most gracious “angels of mercy” during his later life. At home, those were Allison Burton and Sondra Fiddemon. Other “angels” included the outstanding staff at Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital and Westminster Canterbury Hospice team in Norfolk. For fear of leaving someone out, there are too many names who could be listed here who went above and beyond, some extraordinarily so. He won every heart one by one. Even though he had a sometimes-gruff exterior, he had a huge teddy bear heart. They loved him immensely.

Funeral services will be conducted Wednesday, May 29, at 11 a.m. at Cheriton Volunteer Fire Company, with fireman and Coast Guard honors, with the Rev. Jeff Conrow and Mr. Barry Downing officiating. Interment will follow in Cape Charles Cemetery. A reception will follow at the firehouse. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Cheriton Volunteer Fire Company, P.O. Box 41, Cheriton, VA 23316.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.doughtyfuneralhome.com

Arrangements were made by Wilkins-Doughty Funeral Home in Cape Charles.

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