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Dr. Rodney T. West was born on December 23, 1910 in Wailuku, Maui. His parents were W. Leslie and Louise Mengler West. His father arrived in Hawaii in 1900 from Sydney, Australia and his mother was born the day her parents arrived in Honolulu from Germany. The family moved to Yakima, Washington, for a few years. They returned to the Islands where he grew up on Parker Ranch and at Hawi in Kohala on Hawaii. At the age of twelve he came to the Honolulu Military Academy. When the Academy became the “Farm School”, an adjunct of Punahou School, he attended Punahou. Dr. West graduated from Punahou School in 1927 and received his medical degree from Northwestern School of Medicine in 1934. He interned at The Queen’s Hospital, Honolulu, 1934-35. He was a surgical resident at The Queen’s Hospital, April-October 1935. He was in general practice in Honolulu with Dr. Rudolph Benz from Oct. 1935 to Sept. 1941. He was called to active duty in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps in Sept. 1941 and was serving in the Ford Island Dispensary on December 7, 1941. He was sent to the School of Aviation Medicine in Pensacola, Florida, March/April 1944. He had attained the rank of full Commander when he was discharged in 1946. He was a plantation physician at Olaa, Hawaii for a year after returning to the Islands. He joined the staff of The Straub Clinic in 1947. He served some postgraduate work and a preceptorship under Dr. Herbert Bowles and was certified by the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology in 1958. Dr. West practiced at The Straub Clinic and Hospital until his retirement in December 1977.

Dr. West was a member of the American Medical Association, Hawaii Medical Association (president 1963-64), Honolulu County Medical Society (president 1958), American College of Ob. & Gyn., Honolulu Ob. & Gyn. Society (president 1956), and founding president of the American College of Physician Executives. He served as Chief of Staff at St. Francis Hospital, 1940, Kapiolani Maternity Hospital, 1953, and Medical Director, Straub Clinic, 1967-77. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Hawaii Geographic Society, a Director of the Better Business Bureau, Salvation Army Advisory Board, Honolulu Chamber of Commerce, Punahou Alumni Association (president 1958-59) and Rotary International. He was also a member of the Outrigger Canoe Club and Unity Church of Hawaii. He had a host of interests and hobbies including stamps, photography, travel, swimming, orchids and music. He was a collector of maps and was always reading historical novels or history. Dr. West was the author of “Honolulu Prepares for Japan’s Attack”, the story of Honolulu civilian volunteers who were never acknowledged for their more than 50,000 hours of service during the year and a half before December 7, 1941. As a Pearl Harbor Survivor he would autograph his book and meet visitors at the Arizona Memorial.

In his freshman year at Northwestern University Medical School he met Mary Ann Carlisle who was studying dramatics at Chicago Musical College and later graduated from Northwestern. They were married in Chicago on March 10, 1934. They were the parents of three children: Kenneth C., Rodney, Jr. and Jo-Anne. Dr. West died on February 24, 2008 at the age of 97.


First posted May 2008.



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