If you ever walked by Tim West’s desk at the Naperville Sun, you would see a variety of papers all around.
It may have just looked like a messy desk, but for West, it was his way of keeping a bit of the print past, while trying to move into the digital future.
West started at the Sun in 1973 with a column titled “All Points West” and from then on wore many hats: reporter, photographer, associate editor, managing editor, and viewpoint editor.
He most recently wrote opinion pieces covering city council, the April election, and more personal things like his battle with cancer, just like he would with close friends.
Managing Editor for Sun Times Media, Judy Harvey, said this about her friend in a recent Sun article: “In the past few years I treasured the quiet conversation he and I would have about his cancer, national politics, the state of journalism, and past stories we did.”
Many professionals around town got their start at the Sun working for West. They remember that under his gruff demeanor was a great man that had a way of connecting with readers no matter what the topic.
“He would always take the time to really just help me out if I needed it and I thought that was such an amazing attribute of his is that he was always willing to help everyone out, especially younger reporters,” said Kate Houlihan, who worked with West at the Sun from 2005 to 2008.
Tim West not only covered the happenings of Naperville, but also made news himself by giving back as longtime member of many organizations throughout the city and was president of the Rotary Club from 1993 to 1994.
Current President Frank Slocumb honored him in an email sent the day of his passing to all club members: “He had a wonderful sense of humor and an excellent grasp on the themes that made our community a wonderful place to live. Reaching for the Naperville Sun will never be the same again.”
West’s love for Naperville was undeniable, but his greatest love in life, was his wife Kathy.
“Tim wrote several of the most loving columns about Kathy that you would ever want to read,” said Kathy’s law partner, Kevin Gensler. “His last one was their last anniversary and it was probably one of the sweetest columns I’ve ever read by a husband about his wife. And the great love he had for Kathy.”
While many felt as if he was writing pieces just for them, West felt the honor of telling Naperville’s stories was all his.
“For me, it’s been a privilege to live in Naperville and have the ability to chronicle how through the efforts of so many people it has become a fine city,” West said in 2012 when he was honored by the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
A city that grew to love him, one column at a time.
Tim West was 66 years old.
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