Sarah "Sally" Jane (Singer) West, 88, passed away peacefully in hospice on Saturday, August 6, 2023 in Farmington, CT. She was born in Lowville, NY in 1935, to Joseph W. and Leona C. Singer, and grew up there, along with her brother, Jack.
Sally was a 1957 graduate of the Faxton Hospital Nursing Program in Utica, NY. While at Faxton, she met her future husband of 62 years, Howard E. West Jr., on a blind date. Howard, who owned a car, was stationed at Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, NY when a fellow serviceman, whose girlfriend was in the Faxton nursing program, promised to find Howard a date if he would drive. And that’s when Howard met Sally. It was love at first sight.
The following year, Howard and Sally were married in Sally's hometown, at the First Presbyterian Church. Their son, Howard, was born the following year, prior to Howard’s discharge from the Air Force. They were living in Lowville with Sally’s parents when Howard was hired by the FAA as an Air Traffic Controller. While Howard attended training in Oklahoma City, Sally began her nursing career at Lewis County Hospital in Lowville.
Moving to Montana for Howard’s first assignment, Sally served as a nurse at Columbus Hospital of Great Falls. Not long after the birth of their daughter, Jolee, the FAA’s reorganization of the nation’s Air Traffic Control Centers brought the family to Aurora, IL. Over the years, Sally shared her nursing skills and generous, warm-hearted personality in positions at the Aurora Borealis Nursing Home, Copley Memorial Hospital, and lastly, and mostly happily, in Dr. Jack Miller’s OB-GYN practice. In Aurora, Sally was very active in several areas close to her children's lives, contributing time and talent to the PTA of Mabel C. O'Donnell School, as a Den Mother in the Cub Scouts, and as a Girl Scout Leader. The family joined Westminster Presbyterian Church in Aurora where both Howard and Sally served as Elders. In addition to her work as a nurse and her many volunteer activities, Sally was an excellent and creative cook, seamstress, and gardener—her friends would often say that she was “a doer,” always busy and bustling. She baked, made wine and liqueurs, and dried, pickled, froze, and canned the produce she grew in her always-sizable garden. Sally loved entertaining and she and Howard had an active social life with an always large group of neighbors and friends from PTA, work, and church.
In 1984, Sally and Howard left Illinois for Howard’s new position with the US Customs Drug Interdiction Program in New Orleans. Sally decided to retire from nursing, hanging up her stethoscope to focus on her new home. She created a new garden, took a few Cajun cooking classes to add to her broad culinary repertoire, and perfected her shrimp boil for the many friends and family who visited. After three years, Howard’s job moved them to Corpus Christi, TX. In their new home, Sally celebrated the joy of year-round gardening and finally got the in-ground pool she always wanted, creating an entertainment oasis where they held parties and hosted friends and family from far away. They joined Parkway Presbyterian Church of Corpus Christi, a loving and inclusive community that formed a central pillar in their lives, where both served as Elders and participated in its many important mission programs serving the local community and global organizations.
In 2018, faced with serious health issues, Howard and Sally moved to Connecticut to live with their daughter, Jolee. Sally outlived Howard by just over 15 months, spending her final 3 months in memory care at Arden Courts of Farmington. Sally is survived by her two children, Howard E. West III, of Aurora, IL, and Jolee West, of Farmington CT; her brother, the Reverend Dr. Jack (Lorna) Singer, of Larned, KS; and her grandchildren, Emily Louise West, of Aurora, IL, and Kelly Marie Imgrund, of Portland, OR.