Former Milton Councilman Emory West dies

Lifelong town resident was well-liked in the community
March 10, 2023

Emory West was always proud that he was born and raised in Milton and that he spent his whole life there, and knowing West, he was almost assuredly proud that his life’s journey ended in the place he loved so much.

West, 69, died March 3. A gregarious man, West was always available for a chat, and was instantly recognizable with his bushy mustache, country twang and Marlboro-branded windbreaker. 

West spent 28 years working as a machinist and welder with the Delaware Department of Transportation. He retired in 2012 and served two terms on town council. West loved the camaraderie of the council and always said that he liked the job because it allowed him to serve the people. His community service also included chairing the town’s streets and sidewalks committee, and being president of the Milton Community Foundation.

Serving the community is where West met the man he often referred to as his “brother from another mother,” former Councilman Charlie Fleetwood, who passed away in May after years of health problems. 

Fleetwood’s wife, Barbara, said West was a good friend who loved to fish. Barbara said she did not know until recently that before Charlie passed, he instructed West to call her every day to check up on her. 

“He did it faithfully,” she said. “I know there will be more fishing in heaven.”

Barbara said West was a true historian of the town and loved talking about the history of Milton. Charlie helped organize the summer Concerts in the Park, and brought West on board to help. When Charlie’s health began to hinder his ability to do the job, he turned the task over to West. While West was on council, he lobbied to rename the park gazebo after Charlie as a tribute to his work on the concerts and in the community in general. 

“I’ll miss his phone calls. It’s a great loss for Milton,” Barbara said.

Former Mayor Ted Kanakos said, “He was quite a unique fellow. His dad was a magistrate, and at one point, was the police chief, and Emory inherited his good reputation. He was a diligent worker. He was outspoken. He will be missed.”

Mayor John Collier, who acknowledged West’s passing at town council’s March 6 meeting, said, “Emory West was one of those people who left a lasting impression. Honest to a fault, Emory had no problem telling you what he thought and where he stood on any matter. A lifelong resident of Milton who was always willing to lend a hand.”

Collier said he was first introduced to West by his father, a fellow Freemason and member of the Endeavor Lodge. Besides the concerts, West’s devotion to the community included selling merchandise and raising funds for Milton’s 200th anniversary.

“If you were to find an entry in the dictionary for ‘Son of Milton,’ I would like to think you would find Emory's picture,” Collier said.

A visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, March 10, with Masonic Service at 7 p.m. A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 11. Both services will be at Short Funeral Services chapel, 416 Federal St., Milton.

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