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Lois West

Posted: May 8, 2014 8:59 a.m.
Updated: May 9, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Lois Rhame West, a Camden native who died earlier this week at 92, was truly a remarkable woman who was not only a political wife but a partner in the career of her husband, who rose to become governor of South Carolina and ambassador to Saudi Arabia. But it was not only in the realm of politics that she made a mark. She accomplished a variety of things that touched a great number of lives.

Many will remember the difficult 1970 campaign, when John West became one of the “New South” governors, casting aside the old ways of segregation and helping to move the state forward in a peaceful manner. She played a great role in that campaign, and like other things she did, she was successful at it. Her accomplishments over the years were many: Scout leader (both Brownies, Girl Scouts and Cubs); longtime activist for the Muscular Dystrophy Association; proud alumna of Winthrop College, later to become Winthrop University; and a physical fitness advocate before it became popular to be one.

She was awarded an honorary doctorate from Winthrop in 1984, and 23 years later the school named its new wellness center for her. She was, along with her husband, instrumental in making Winthrop co-educational after decades as a women-only school. But she wasn’t all business; she also was a fun-loving person who enjoyed many friends in Camden and was always ready with a smile and a kind word. People across South Carolina will grieve for Mrs. West, as will her many friends in Kershaw County. We join with all in celebrating a life well lived.

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