From Austin West’s obituary:
PORTLAND -- Austin West passed away peacefully on Oct. 23, 2011, at his home in Portland, ME. He was born in Haverhill, Mass., on June 13, 1913, to Walter and Martha Weschkolofsky. He moved to Maine after high school and lived in and around Bridgton, occasionally leaving for wherever work took him. A philosopher and a poet, Austin's extensive and impressive life journey included work as a chaplain, sailor, fisherman, lumberjack, welder, ship fitter, farmer, florist, teacher, steeplejack, deep-sea diver and a salesman, who sold everything from antiques to insurance. His favorite jobs were those that allowed him to work outside, including the New London Orient Point ferry.
In 1942, at the age of 35, he enlisted and served in the US Navy during WWII and served on destroyer escorts looking for submarines. Always the seaman, many years later he worked on the research ship, the Robert D. Conrad, looking for the USS THRESHER SSN 593. He wrote a song entitled “From the Thresher,” and dedicated it to Irene Harvey and the other wives of the men on THRESHER. The lyrics were read at many Thresher memorial services.
Austin was a man of passion and grace who spoke in lyric and rhyme. His endearing, whimsical spirit could be seen in his sparkling, blue eyes which were a window into his kind and gentle soul, felt by all who knew him. Austin said 'I hear with my heart, not my ears. I believe in beauty and striving. I don't believe in perfection. I just want to be a little better today than I was yesterday.
Provided by Bruce Harvey