Headshot of attorney David West

William “David” West, long-time State District Judge, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, died in his Clear Lake home on August 27. He was 84.

Born in 1935 in Groveton, Texas, to Clyde and Dema West, he and his family, including his three siblings QA, Betty Lou, and Dean, moved to the Golden Acres/Pasadena area. After graduating from Pasadena High School in 1954, West attended Texas A&M where he graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. He remained proud, fighting Texas Aggie throughout his life.

David began work as an electrical engineer for Douglas Aircraft in Newport Beach, California, where he met Irene Britt. They married in 1960 and together they had three children: Melissa, Michael, and Glenn. They remained married until 1969 when Irene tragically died of brain cancer.

David and his children returned to Pasadena in 1971. Still with Douglas, West became the head of the environmental system for Skylab, the first U.S. space station launched by NASA. He was blessed to meet Gayle Wimpee West. They married in 1971 and had two children, Blake and Julie.

David made a significant career change when he decided to become a lawyer. After graduating from South Texas College of Law in 1974, he spent several successful years in private practice before being appointed by Gov. Bill Clements as State District Judge in 1983. In 1984, as a Republican, he was elected State District Judge for the 269th court, and later his fellow judges selected him as the Harris County Chief Administrative Judge. During his tenure, several future leaders of Texas served under Judge West, including Gov. Greg Abbot, Texas Supreme Court Justice John Devine, and many more. Additionally, right before he retired from the bench, he worked tirelessly to pass legislation in the state legislature to secure an increase in pay for State District Judges.

As a retired judge, I know the law from more than one perspective.


On the bench, Judge West was known for his intelligence and fairness, and he adjudicated several landmark cases, including Dallas Morning News v. Dallas Times Herald. He returned to private practice in 1997.

David was a true renaissance man with a multitude of interests and areas of expertise. He was passionate about boat building, a hobby that he began at 16 years old. One of his greatest joys was building Opti sailboats with elementary school students. With the help of his sons, he even built a 48-foot wooden sailboat that he enjoyed sailing in Clear Lake.

David was also a world traveler. He and Gayle traveled often, and they particularly loved Ireland which they visited several times. David was well known for granting Irish blessings and studying the history of the Emerald Isle. He also enjoyed researching the Civil War and the role of his ancestors in the conflict. His weekend waffle breakfasts for family and friends were legendary.

A long-time member of First Baptist Church Pasadena, David was a devout Christian who put his love for Jesus Christ above all else. He served as a deacon for years and performed many wedding ceremonies, including several of his own children and grandchildren.

Beyond his numerous accomplishments, David's greatest success was in his role as a father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He was loved and admired by his five children, and his legacy lives on in their children and grandchildren.

David is survived by his wife Gayle along with his five children and their spouses: Melissa Parker and her husband Jack, Michael and his wife Laura, Glenn and his wife Angela, Blake and his wife Gara and Julie Scott and her husband Justin. David was blessed with 13 grandchildren: Dianna, Stephanie, Jeffrey, Michael, Catherine, Rachel, Thomas, Kristen, Julianne, Caroline, Ella, Abigail, and Chloe, as well as nine great-grandchildren, with one on the way. And, his newest love was princess Gracie, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.