Obituary: Roger Karl West
Roger Karl West of Montclair, a research engineer for Exxon for more than 30 years, died on July 30, 2022, at his home. He was 84.
Mr. West was born in Binghamton, New York, to Karl and Mary (Cook) West in 1938, the first of three children. He earned a B.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering at Cornell University, where he played clarinet in the band and met his wife, Mary Lou, also a clarinetist. Both played in Carnegie Hall in 1989 with the massed Cornell bands.
After college, they settled in Montclair. He worked as a research engineer at Exxon for over 30 years. He received Patent of the Year at Exxon for his work on polymer additives for engine oil, was inducted into the N.J. Inventors Hall of Fame in 1998, and was named a Hero of Chemistry by the American Chemical Society.
When Exxon moved his division to Texas, he put family first, staying put in Montclair for the good of his then-teenaged kids. He embarked on a second career when that was not the norm, learning a new skill, patent searching.
Mr. West enjoyed singing with several choirs, particularly Schola Cantorum on Hudson (now called Ember). He loved learning other languages including Russian in college, became fluent in French, and even started learning Mandarin in his 70s.
He enjoyed camping and was active in Scouting as a boy and then again as a leader, when his son, David, was a Scout. He loved traveling and reading science fiction. In middle age, he started to learn about wine and enjoyed developing his palate, sharing this appreciation with his then-grown children.
He also studied investing, putting much of his learning into practice, with proceeds going to many philanthropic activities. He was a good ballroom dancer, enjoying Roundtowners for many years.
He was smart, witty, kind, a lifelong learner, a great husband, father, grandfather and friend.
Mr. West is survived by his wife of 59 years, Mary Lou; son, David (Carolyn); daughter, Sharon (Dan), and his four grandchildren, Aurora, Selena, Ezra and Alden.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Margaret, and his brother, Frank.
Visitation is at the Hugh M. Moriarty Funeral Home, 76 Park St., on Thursday, Aug. 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. Burial will follow a private service in Vestal, New York.
Memorial donations may be made to Ember Choral Arts, emberarts.org.