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Brian Donald West, 29, of Wasilla, Alaska, and formerly of La Grande, died Sept. 20. A memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at Catherine Creek State Park. Cousin Brandon Boone will officiate.
Brian was born July 20, 1978, in Salem. He spent his early years in La Grande. His Great-grandma Faye Hayes spent her later years helping to raise Brian and his younger brother, Christopher. He graduated from Honokaa High School in Honokaa, Hawaii, in 1995.
Brian joined the U.S. Air Force after high school. He served 10 years as a civil engineer and was a certified master plumber. Brian was stationed in New Mexico, Spokane, Washington and Japan. He served tours in Kuwait, Afghanistan and two in Iraq. He received an honorable medical discharge and retired as a staff sergeant first class.
He moved to Alaska and married his best friend, Mary, on Jan. 5, 2007, in Anchorage. The couple purchased a home in Wasilla and owned and operated West Home Repairs.
Those who knew Brian say he was a very adventurous person. He enjoyed skate boarding, snowboarding and rock climbing. While in Hawaii, he relished hunting wild boars with a spear, fishing and board and body surfing in the huge waves off the north shore of the Big Island. He was able to surf while stationed in Japan and was the president of the Hawaiian Military Surfing Organization.
Brian was a tattoo artist who loved creating art on friends and family. He earned his associate of applied arts degree in art from Penn Foster University in 2006.
Those who knew him say he had an incredible sense of humor. They say he loved “hanging out” with friends and enjoyed philosophical discussions. His family says that they loved his bright smile and quick wit.
Brian is survived by his wife, Mary; children, Kalani, Matthew, Brian Jared and Allison; parents, Steve and Laurie Hewitt; father, Tony West; brothers, A.J. Hewitt, Christopher West and Scott Hewitt; grandparents, Gail Turnbow, Marguerite Zulhdorf and Jim and Phyllis Hewitt; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
La Grande Observer – Obituaries For The Week Ending September 29, 2007 – Published: September 29, 2007