Longtime Laurel businessman, entrepreneur dies at 91

Longtime Laurel businessman, entrepreneur dies at 91

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - This is an obituary written by the West family. 

Victor C. West, 91, a business and community leader in Laurel, passed away at his home, surrounded by family, on Wednesday, April 13, 2016.

Visitation will be noon - 2 p.m. Saturday at Memory Chapel of Laurel. The funeral service will be at 2 p.m. at Memory Chapel followed by internment at Sunset Gardens. Brother Rod Smith will officiate.

West grew up in the Strengthford Community of Wayne County and went to Jones County Agricultural High School in Ellisville. After graduating in 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in World War II in the Pacific and Atlantic until the end of the war.

When he returned, he went to work for Southern Bell Telephone and married the former Louise Parrish in 1946. They would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on April 20.

West worked for the phone company for 21 years before opening a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in Laurel in 1967. With the success of that first business, he soon opened two more KFCs and from that, West Quality Foods was hatched. At the time of his death, WQF had more than 70 eateries in four Southeastern states, including 55 in Mississippi. His four sons and two grandchildren work in the family business. West often said that the support of his wife Louise early on was the reason for the success of the business. They ate lunch together most Sundays at his one-of-a-kind hometown restaurant Vic's Biscuits and Burgers.

West served as president of the Southeastern KFC Franchisee Association in 1983 and was a longtime board member. In 2004, he won the PETE (People Encouraging Talent and Excellence) award, which is the highest honor KFC Corporation awards to a franchisee. He was the 1996 Jones County Junior College Alumnus of the Year and he served on the JCJC Foundation board. He also served on the boards of South Central Regional Medical Center and the Salvation Army.

West was a past president of the Laurel Shrine Club and he was a member of the Laurel Masonic Lodge 414 A&FM, Laurel York Rite Bodies, Meridian Scottish Rite Bodies (32nd degree). He was a member of the Hamasa Shriners Laurel Motor Corps.

He was preceded in death by parents William Ward West and Errette Walters West; brothers Marvin, Paul and Ronnie West; and sisters Ann Baucum Brooks and Maxine Stringer.

Survivors include his wife Louise West; sons Dick (Pat) West, Bill (Pam) West, Steve (Cherie) West and Tim (?eresa) West; grandchildren Ken (Debbie) West, Mike (Crystal) West, Gary (Meredith) West, Kristin West, Lauren Busby, Marcy (Slade) Crawford, Aleza (Lee) Boyette, Aaron (Winn) Walker and Alex Walker; 16 great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces and nephews.

The family offered special thanks to home-care sitters Ricky Nicholson, Cheri Harris, Mary Hill, Liz Nicholson, Cyndy Tornton, Lavon Hicks, and Velinda Thigpen.

Pallbearers will be Mike West, Ken West, Gary West, Lee Boyette, Donnie West and Alex Walker.

Dr. Aremmia Tanious, Dr. John Hassell, and the Hamasa Shriners Laurel Motor Corps will serve as honorary pallbearers.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to the Hamasa Shriners Transportation Fund at 5516 Dale Dr., Marion, MS 39342.

Memory Chapel is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be made to the family here.