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Sarah Stone West

Sarah Stone West, 84, died on July 3, 2007, in Raymondville, Texas. She was born on December 7, 1923, the twelfth child and only daughter of John A. Stone and Cora Lee Foster Stone. She lived in Celeste until she finished high school as valedictorian of her 1941 class.

Sarah enrolled in East Texas State University (now Texas A&M-Commerce) in 1942, where she pledged to Kalir Sorority (Alpha Delta Phi), was elected a college beauty, and was chosen a member of Who's Who. She belonged to three honor societies, Alpha Chi, Sigma Tau Delta, and Kappa Delta Pi; she was graduated cum laude in only two and a half years.

Sarah taught school for one year in Garland before becoming a stewardess for American Airlines. She attended stewardess school in New York City before being assigned the Fort Worth-Mexico City route because of her use of the Spanish language. After a year and a half at that job, she met and married Tom West of Celeste.

Sarah taught in Celeste for four years and loved it. She became "Miss Sarah" to children who had known her as "Sarah" all their lives. She appreciated the fact that they were respectful and eager to learn. During those years, Sarah went back to school in Commerce, receiving her Master of Arts Degree, as well as an administrator's certificate, maintaining a straight A average.

After her husband, Tom, finished his degree, they moved to Corpus Christi, where Sarah taught English in high school and in the college. After two years in Corpus Christi, because Tom accepted the job as coach in Weslaco, they moved there in 1953.

A year later, their son, Tommy was born, and he was the absolute pride and joy of his mother's life. When Tommy was old enough for kindergarten, Sarah went back to teaching and was senior English teacher in Weslaco for four years.

After their move to Raymondville in 1962, where Tom was high school principal, Sarah taught for twenty-five more years. For sixteen years of that time, she taught English. The last nine years, she spent teaching mathematics using computers. Her supervisor said that Sarah's students showed more improvement than those of anyone else in the program.

Many times she was offered a college teaching position, which she refused because she felt her husband's job was more important.

Throughout her teaching career, Sarah was always willing to stay late at school to tutor students who needed help to pass. Her only reward for giving her free time was the joy of seeing students learn and improve in their studies. Her home was always open to any child who wanted help or even a good meal. She stressed to students to have pride in themselves and to realize they could achieve any goal if they were only willing to work.

After retirement, Sarah spent much of her time reading--about three books a year. She found time to work in the Raymondville Cemetery, caring for neglected graves and keeping silk flowers on about four hundred graves. She also loved to cook and carry food to neighbors and friends.

Sarah also liked to sew and, for years, she made all her own clothes and many for her husband and others in the family.

For eight years, she had her grandson, Trey, every weekend. This child brought her great joy and much, much love.

Sarah was preceded in death by her father and mother as well as by her brothers, Willard Stone, Robert Stone, Jack Stone, and Brice Stone.

She is survived by her son, Tom West, Jr.; her grandson, Tom West III and William West; great-granddaughter, Lilli West; and many nieces and nephews whom she adored.

It could be said that Sarah had so much love to give that she spread it around to all she touched, regardless of age, race, color, or creed. She strove to see the good in people and to bring light into their lives. Sarah and Tom had a happy, loving, and peaceful home where friends were always welcome. Sarah worked at making people feel good about themselves.

For most of her life, Sarah was a faithful member of the Church of Christ. She loved the Lord and enjoyed her church work. She tried to be a living example for good in all the lives she touched. The Bible says, "Blessed are those who love the Lord;" so, she must be truly blessed.

If she could speak to us today, her advice would be, "Learn everything you can because someday you may need it. Spread love and it will come back to you as an echo resounds or as wavelets spread when a rock is tossed in the water."

We will miss you, Sarah, and be thankful for the influence you had on your lives.

Memorial services will be held Saturday, July 14, 2007, at 2:00 PM, with Charles Wrenn officiating.

Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow- Funeral Home in Leonard has charge of the memorial service.

(July 12, 2007, The Leonard Graphic)

Submitted by Sarah Swindell

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