John C. West was born on August 27, 1922 to Shelton J. and Mattie R. West in Camden, South Carolina. He attended The Citadel and graduated with a B.A. in 1942. He then attended the University of South Carolina School of Law and graduated magna cum laude with an L.L.B. in 1948.
Governor West’s legal career began in Camden as partner with the firm of West, Holland, Furman and Cooper which became West Cooper Bowen Beard and Smoot in 1975. In 1981 he opened his own practice, and was also senior partner with the firm of West & West (Camden and Hilton Head Island). He was Of Counsel with McNair Law Firm from 1988 to 1992, and with Bethea Jordan & Griffin until his death in 2004.
Governor West served his country and the State of South Carolina well. He served as State Senator of Kershaw County, Lieutenant Governor, Governor, United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and United States Army Major.
He served on the Board of Trustees for the Southern Center for International Studies, and Board of Directors for the Seibels Bruce Group and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Governor West was an active member of Bethesda Presbyterian Church in Camden serving as a Sunday School teacher and Ruling Elder.
He is survived by his wife, Lois Rhame West, and his children John C. West, Jr., Douglas Allen West, and Shelton Ann Bosley.