Various men and women have explained Maureen West as a “bright light” to all all those all around her.
West was a former writer and editor for The Arizona Republic, exactly where she published a wide variety of information from tricky-hitting breaking news, to informative items about stop-of-life care, to posts about her personal experiences.
West died on July 21, 2022.
Past her men and women-centered journalism, those who ended up closest to West saw her as a sort, thoughtful unique with a heart for many others.
West was born in Perry, Iowa, in 1952. She attended the University of Iowa, graduating in 1974 with a degree in interaction, journalism and related studies. After graduating, West went on to function in journalism for additional than 30 decades.
She wrote at the Daytona Beach Information-Journal, The Fayetteville Observer and the Lexington Herald-Leader just before landing in Phoenix, the place she first worked for the Phoenix Gazette as opinion editor. She then went to The Republic when the two papers merged in 1995.
It was while working in Phoenix where West achieved her partner, Dennis Burke, in 1996.
Speaking with The Republic on Friday, Burke said West revealed several opinion articles or blog posts that he sent into the paper. Right after a although, she experienced released enough that a coworker recommended she acquire him out to lunch, since at the time guest opinion writers ended up not paid. Burke reported she possibly wouldn’t have done it had she recognised he was one (he had composed about his children in a few of his pieces), but they hit it off.
“The rest is historical past,” Burke claimed.
West revealed some of the very best tales of her profession at The Republic, Burke stated, referencing a person piece specifically.
In the paper’s Nov. 29, 2000, version, West and her coworker Judd Slivka posted a entrance-site tale exposing nine drownings on Lake Powell for what they genuinely were being: carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Maureen and I worked together on the most significant piece of services in my news job. She was kind and smart and humorous and so perceptive,” Slivka reported in a remark on an Arizona Republic alumni Fb website page. “She taught me — and so many other individuals — so a lot.”
West also wrote quite a few tales on disease and stop-of-daily life experiences. She documented her experience with breast cancer when she was identified about 11 many years ago.
“She claimed, ‘It’s a tale,’” Burke claimed. “She experienced a photographer abide by her by means of that procedure, for the reason that of a good deal of girls, a ton of families, have a ton of queries … so, she explained, ‘Let’s just adhere to me via that determination system.’”
A enjoyable and considerate mentor
Her previous coworkers remembered her fondly in messages, comments and conversations.
“When I was a school college student trying to get to get my foot in the doorway in journalism, I wrote a commentary for the old Phoenix Gazette. Maureen kindly released it,” claimed Republic reporter Debra Krol. “She also offered encouragement alongside my journey, and I have usually admired her for her willingness to give suggestions here and there. I assume I nonetheless have the clip at house because it was my 1st-ever printed piece.”
“She was a enjoyable colleague,” said Mary Jo Pitzl, a reporter at The Republic and 1 of West’s closest mates. “More importantly, I assume she was a pretty thoughtful journalist.”
Pitzl explained West always took a extremely human-centered approach to her stories, choosing troubles that influence people in their every day lives.
In 2010, West acquired her master’s degree in nonprofit scientific tests, likely on to publish for nonprofit information businesses including the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Centre for General public Integrity and the AARP Bulletin.
West turned a professor at the Arizona Point out College Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Conversation in 2010, exactly where she taught different reporting lessons, state-of-the-art electronic storytelling, journalism ethics and diversity and answers journalism.
Jessica Boehm was a scholar in West’s introductory reporting class in the early 2010s — JMC 201. Boehm said she remembers West getting really encouraging and getting a legitimate care for her students’ good results.
West was “a beacon of gentle in a time when it can be actually scary” to go after a vocation in journalism, Boehm mentioned.
Boehm went on to turn into a metropolis corridor reporter at The Republic, where she labored for 7 yrs. She is now a reporter with Axios Phoenix, and, with the encouragement of West, she taught her initial course at ASU – the exact class West experienced taught her – as an adjunct professor in spring of 2022.
Boehm claimed she believed about West frequently when she was teaching, saying she needed to make the same optimistic effect in her students’ life that West experienced produced.
“It’s frustrating to see how numerous folks … were so moved by her,” Boehm said. “I think she experienced that influence on absolutely everyone she came in get hold of with.”
Though she excelled in her job, she was also a very pleased stepmother. Burke said that West spoke of her learners the same say in which she spoke of her two stepchildren: “She had that several small children.”
A very last journey to see Rome
A close good friend of both Burke and West, Chris Lavelle, taught at ASU together with West. Lavelle said their preferred memory of her was likely to Italy with her in March.
West was identified with state-of-the-art leukemia, and medical professionals predicted she did not have a lot lengthier to reside. But Burke explained that despite the medical outlook, she was set on heading to Italy. He reported she beloved to vacation and she wanted to go regardless of how extended she had left.
“She knew she didn’t have a lot more than months to are living but she wished me to see Rome,” Burke mentioned. “I had hardly ever noticed it. And she desired to see it with me. She needed me to see it with her. And so she created that chance and it worked out completely. It was a wonderful trip.”
The two of them satisfied up with Lavelle and her spouse in Rome, where Lavelle explained she made her fondest memory with West: going to the Vatican and unintentionally observing the Pope’s Monday Easter handle in man or woman.
“It was such a blessing. We experienced no thought,” Lavelle said.
Out of everything, Lavelle states she hopes persons keep in mind West’s smile and her complete kindness to all.
“I’ll generally remember her,” Lavelle said.
Funeral preparations have not been declared. Burke requested that donations in memory of West be made to Coalition for Girls in Journalism.
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