Alfred John (Jack) Westland – Commander, United States Navy

Member of Congress

WESTLAND, Alfred John (Jack), a Representative from Washington; born in Everett, Snohomish County, Washington, December 14, 1904; attended the local schools and was graduated from the University of Washington Law School, Seattle, Washington, in 1926; engaged in the cotton goods business in New York City and Chicago, Illinois, 1926-1930; in the investment brokerage business in Chicago, Illinois, 1930-1936, and in Seattle, Washington, 1936-1941; enlisted in the United States Navy in the summer of 1940 and was commissioned a Lieutenant (jg) in November 1940; was called to active duty May 1, 1941; served in the Pacific until separated from the service as a Commander in February 1946; returned to Everett, Washington, and operated an insurance agency until 1954; elected as a Republican to the eighty-third and to the five succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1953-January 3, 1965); was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1964 to the Eighty-ninth Congress; automobile dealer, Monterey, California; was a resident of Pebble Beach, California until his death there on November 3, 1982; interment in Arlington National Cemetery.

Posted on Thu, Sep. 14, 2006

Helen Westland, whose commitment to hospice services led to renaming the Hospice House to the Westland House in Monterey, died Wednesday at the age of 89. She had been at the facility that bears her name for about 10 days.

Mrs. Westland lived a life that read like a great American novel. She traveled to England during World War II to volunteer with the Red Cross. She toured Asia with the Red Cross, and after the war went to Washington, D.C., where she worked for a U.S. senator and served in the Eisenhower administration. In 1959, she married a U.S. congressman.

“It's all true,” said Daniel Tibbitts, Westland's friend and former Hospice House capital campaign chairman.

Alice Kinsler, president and CEO of the Hospice Foundation, said the single thread that ran through Mrs. Westland's life and drove her was her deep, compassionate spirit. She singlehandedly raised millions of dollars for construction of the Westland House of the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, said Tibbitts.

“The first person we went to see to raise money for Westland House, we got a million-dollar check,” Tibbitts said.

Besides providing inpatient hospice services or end-of-life care, Westland House, which was renamed last year, provides skilled nursing and rehabilitation services.

Mrs. Westland was a founding board member of the Hospice Foundation, the first hospice program in Monterey County, which got under way in 1978. The nonprofit group provides financial assistance to local hospice providers.

Mrs. Westland remained a voting member until 1998, when she was given an honorary emeritus title by the Hospice Foundation.

The foundation established an award in Westland's name to honor an annual volunteer. It was her practice to write personal thank you notes to members of the community who donated to the foundation.

Mrs. Westland was a 38-year volunteer with the Community Hospital auxiliary.

Her caring spirit demonstrated itself in Ms. Westland's funny side.

“She was always a bit mischievous,” said Steve Packer, president and CEO of Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula. “She had a way of teasing and joking. She always knew just enough about someone to be able to do that.”

Mrs. Westland was born Helen Geis in 1917 in Salina, Kansas. She studied journalism at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, and was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.

In her senior year, Mrs. Westland began her own radio show, “Rising at Riley with Cap'n Kay Smiley” on KSAL in Salina.

She developed dedicated fans among the servicemen at nearby Fort Riley, who wrote her letters with their song requests. Westland saved the letters to remind her of the part she played in lifting the soldiers' morale, said Jennifer Pettley, communications director with the Hospice Foundation.

In 1944, Mrs. Westland set sail with the American Red Cross for England, where she was assigned to the division known as Club Mobile.

Her group toured the country, serving fresh doughnuts to American and British soldiers. Mrs. Westland returned briefly to the United States the next year, but set off again with the American Red Cross to the South Pacific Island of Kwajalein. After that, she was off to Guam, Japan and China before returning home in 1948.

In 1950, Mrs. Westland went to Washington D.C. as a staff member for Kansas Republican Sen. Andrew Schoeppel. In 1952, she worked on President Dwight Eisenhower's election campaign. Six years later, she was named confidential assistant to Frederick Mueller, Eisenhower's secretary of commerce.

Mrs. Westland married Representative Jack Westland, R-Everett, Washington, in 1959. They retired to Pebble Beach in 1965, where they could enjoy their love of golf.

Jack Westland died on Election Day in 1982.

Mrs. Westland is survived by her brother, Bob Geis of Denver; 12 nieces and nephews, and numerous grandnieces and grandnephews.

Donations can be sent to The Helen Westland Endowment Fund, Hospice Foundation, P.O. Box 1798, Monterey, California 93942.

Memorial services are pending. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery.

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