Remembering Carol Venerable West

Posted on

West Carol small

We are sad to report that Carol West, wife of UCLA biochemistry professor emeritus Charles West, passed away on July 21, 2017.

Carol died peacefully at her home at the age of 88 in Houston, Texas following a stroke.  

Born on October 28, 1928, in Anna, Illinois, Carol was raised on a peach and apple farm by her parents, Witt Venerable and Mary Dubois Venerable, who loved to travel between harvest seasons. From her earliest years, she and her brother Jim experienced many adventures across different parts of the country, guided by their parents, leading Carol on her lifelong journey of appreciation for diverse cultures and ways of life.  She graduated from Anna-Jonesboro High School, where she played drums in the band and was class valedictorian. Carol graduated from Stevens College and then attended University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in history and counseling. She then worked as a high school history teacher and counselor in Beloit, Wisconsin.  

Wests 2010

Carol and Charlie West at the 2010 Seaborg Medal dinner at UCLA.

In 1952, Carol married Charles West, of Greencastle, IN, and moved to Los Angeles where Charles began his lifelong career as a biochemist on faculty at the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  During Charles’ military service, Carol taught 5th and 6th grade in Sausalito, CA.  Upon returning to Los Angeles, Carol became a full-time mother to two sons, Jeffrey and David, and volunteered in many capacities related to their upbringing, her church, and Charles’ career.  After her children left for college, she worked professionally as a counselor for a local college and for Planned Parenthood.

Throughout life Carol remained an avid reader, writer, and lover of travelling.  She lived abroad with the family in Germany and England during Charles’ sabbatical leaves and later accompanied him on additional extended stays in Colorado, Europe, and China. During later decades, they travelled for pleasure with two other couples on an annual basis, experiencing dozens of delightful locales, foreign and domestic.  Special trips for each grandchild featured Hawaii and the Bahamas. Throughout life, Carol welcomed hundreds of relatives, friends, UCLA colleagues, and students in to her home. She was adept at developing and maintaining lifetime relationships and always valued time spent with loved ones and others.  Carol was an active member of Westwood Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles for 64 years. She was a founding member of the Women’s Reading Group there, which she co-led for many years.  

Carol is survived by her husband, Charles West; sons Jeffrey (Karin) of Houston, Texas, and David (Jada) of Weehawken, New Jersey; grandchildren Hillary, Nelson, and Chase; great-granddaughter Aria; and a number of relatives and close friends. Carol was preceded in death by her parents, Witt and Mary Venerable, and her brother, James Venerable.  

A memorial service for Carol will be conducted at Westwood Presbyterian Church, 10822 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90024, on August 11, 2017, at 2:00 pm, for all friends and family. 

Carol was active in the UCLA community for decades.  If you would like to make a donation in Carol’s honor to the Daniel E. Atkinson & Charles A. West Prize & Fellowships in Metabolic Biochemistry to support graduate and undergraduate students, please visit the fund website