Lucy West, 101

Feb. 20, 2016 - Aug. 28, 2017
Lucy West, Feb. 20, 2016 - Aug. 28, 2017
Durell Godfrey

Lucy West, whose 100th birthday on Feb. 20, 2016, was declared Lucy West Day in the Village of East Hampton by Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr., died at home here on Aug. 28. She was 101.

Her only surviving sister, Lottie Gaines of Montclair, N.J., said that the mayor’s proclamation was not the only one Ms. West received. Others arrived from President Barack Obama, Senator Charles E. Schumer, and Msgr. Donald Hanson of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East Hampton, and they were all beautifully framed.

Ms. West belonged to an extended family, all of whom were reportedly accomplished and active members of their communities. She herself was a prime example: A social worker in New York City in the 1980s, she later attended the Orchid Beauty School in Garland, Tex., and opened her own salon with her sister Ruth Hartwell on North Main Street in East Hampton. She went to college when she  was in her 60s, and earned a degree from the College of New Rochelle. 

She loved to travel, always accompanied by one of her many nieces. Three years ago, at the age of 98, she went to Egypt. Years ago in Italy, she had an audience with Pope John Paul II. She had also been to Jerusalem, Spain, Bermuda, and many of the Caribbean islands. 

Lucy West was born on Feb. 20, 1916, in McKenney, Va., one of 10 children, three boys and seven girls, of the former Lottie Mason and Robert Hartwell. The family moved to the South Fork when she was a child, and she graduated from Bridgehampton High School. Later, in 1928, they settled on Race Lane in East Hampton.

Not long after that, her sister said, “Lucy found her way to the bright lights of New York City,” eventually settling in Brooklyn and coming to East Hampton in the summers.

In September 1937 she married Norman Rayfield West, who died in 1977. The couple never had children, but “she took care of everyone else’s,” Ms. Gaines said. Toward the end of her life, she took lunch at the East Hampton Town Senior Center and was cared for by her sister’s husband, David Gaines. 

“Our angel, Lucy Hartwell West, has gone on to be with the Lord . . . she was the epitome of a Deborah, a warrior in her own right, like a Rachel, who helped in her parents’ household, like Mother Theresa. . . ,” Ms. Gaines said.

In addition to Ms. Gaines, 27 nieces and nephews survive, many of whom live in East Hampton, and a considerable number of great-nieces and great-nephews.

The family received visitors on the evening of Sept. 8 at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton. A funeral Mass was celebrated at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church on Sept. 9, followed by burial in the church cemetery, next to her husband.