Karl W. West, 86, of Oak Ridge, passed away peacefully December 21, 2011 at his home.
He was born October 17, 1925 in Glenville, WV to Albert N. and Dosha Rymer West and was the youngest of four children. After graduating from Glenville High School, he served in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. In 1945, as a serviceman stationed at Maxwell Air Force Base, he met his beloved wife Jean Taylor West, who preceded him in death. The Wests moved to Oak Ridge in 1951 where they went on to establish a family that has grown to include two daughters, four grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
Karl was a longtime resident of Oak Ridge and was an active member of First Baptist Church since 1951. During his time with the church, he served in leadership positions including deacon, trustee, and trusted advisor; held key roles on numerous committees; and contributed his engineering expertise to maintain church facilities and property.
Karl was an academic from a young age and pursued education throughout his lifetime where he was a lifelong advocate of science and innovation. He graduated from West Virginia University with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and taught Electrical Engineering with the WVU Physics Department. He attended the University of Tennessee on a graduate scholarship where he completed all requirements for his M.S. in Electrical Engineering.
Karl became employed with the Instrumentation and Controls Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1951. After some early years in instrument and design development and product development, he joined the Reactor Controls Department and supported the design, installation, maintenance, and modification of all 13 of ORNL's nuclear reactor control and safety systems. He was the Reactor Support Group Leader for the Reactor Systems Section for 30 years. He also served the section as team leader in the I&C review of several nuclear reactor test projects and facilities. Karl served on the Federal Committees investigating causes and effects and developing lessons learned from both the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents. Karl retired from ORNL in 1990.
Karl was a steward of Oak Ridge and devoted much of his time to fostering community development and participating in civic organizations and events. He was elected to the Oak Ridge City Council in 1970 and served 18 years in various capacities, including Chairman of Council's Committee on Senior Citizens; Board of Anderson County Community Action Commission; Council on Clinch River MRS Task Force Transportation Group; and Charter Board Member of Community Television of Oak Ridge.
In addition to his wife, he is preceded in death by a sister, Mary Leone Tatterson, and two brothers, Homer Paul West and Stanley Rymer West.
Karl is survived by two daughters, Deborah West Barker and husband, Bill, and Cynthia West, all of Oak Ridge; three granddaughters, Amanda Barker Moore and husband Tim, of Knoxville; Allison Ford Getsi and husband, Charles, of Oak Ridge; Sarah Ford Harvey and husband Derek, of Knoxville; a grandson, Steven West Barker and wife, Hannah, of Claxton; seven great-grandchildren, Ryan Hayden Getsi, Andrew Taylor Moore, Madelyne Grace Harvey, Lucille Reba Barker, Rollins Christopher Getsi, Bailey Elizabeth Moore, and Layne Walker Harvey, with an eighth great-grandchild due in February.
The family offers very special thanks for the loving care of the staff at Emeritus of Oak Ridge and Amedisys Hospice Services.
Karl has chosen to donate his body to medical science, followed by a cremation.
Receiving of friends will be at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 27, 2011, at First Baptist Church in Oak Ridge, followed by a memorial service at 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that any memorials be in the form of donations to Agape of the First Baptist Church, 1101 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge, TN 37830.