Richard Leroy Westlake, known to everyone as “Dick Westlake”, passed away from a long, gradual decline of his strong heart on Tuesday, April 3rd, after 87 great years. Dorothy, his wife of 67 years, shared his journey from the age of 20, until his last moment.
Dick was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma on Wednesday, July 30, 1930 to Ruth Mayes Westlake and Stanley Westlake. He was a proud, voting member of the Cherokee Nation and loved tribal history.
The family moved to Dallas in 1944, where he attended W.E. Greiner Junior High and later graduated from Sunset High in 1948. While at Greiner, he met a beautiful girl named Dorothy Jean Newton.
Despite his modest height, he was a three-year letterman and star basketball player in high school; he also played at North Texas State. After a year in Denton, he decided it was time to settle down and transferred to Arlington State (now U.T. Arlington) to focus on academics.
A year and a half later, on January 6, 1951, Dorothy and Dick married at Edgefield Church of Christ in Dallas. The newly married couple immediately moved to Lubbock, where he completed his degree in Government at Texas Tech in 1952. After graduation, they moved to Austin where he attended the University of Texas School of Law, receiving his LL.B. and admission to the State Bar of Texas in 1955.
Upon graduation from law school, he entered the United States Army for two years where he was stationed at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, California.
After the army, and a brief stint back in Dallas, they moved to Midland in May of 1958 where they raised their family and made many wonderful life-long friends. Dick spent nine years with a major oil company, then along with a friend from the army, started an independent oil and gas company. They disbanded the company after 14 years and from that time on he worked as an independent consultant and manager of his oil and gas properties.
In 1993 they moved to Salado, Texas where they spent the next 20 wonderful years. They filled those years with volunteer work on many worthy causes, such as the VA hospital of Temple, the Belton GED program, Meals on Wheels, the Lions Club and the Salado Public Library. Being only 50 miles from Austin, they also enjoyed many activities at the University of Texas.
To be closer to their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, in 2013 they moved to the Northwest Houston area. They spoke of enjoying the contrasts of living on the California coast, the West Texas desert, the Hill Country and now the East Texas forest.
Dick was a lifelong Methodist, having been baptized in 1941. He always tried to be a proper witness for Christianity. Throughout their lives, Dick and Dorothy loved to travel, read and volunteer. Dick was always enthusiastic about his many hobbies, including stained glass artwork, woodworking, and crafting many eclectic windchimes and birdhouses. He also loved music, having played the flute during his school years. Texas Tech and U.T. sports were an endless passion, and he loved to watch and play basketball and tennis for as long as he was able.
His life was especially enriched by his niece and her husband, Sandra and Alfred Pulido. Lifelong friends that he always appreciated and kept in touch with include Bill Cotner, Jack Laremore, Leonard Weeks, and Bill Rose. He sorely missed others that have already passed. Special thanks to Reverend Trish Holland, wife of deceased friend George Holland, for her words at the service.
When Dorothy and Dick married in 1951, Dick told his friends that he had “won the prize”. They had three children: Richard Lee and wife Julie, Ronald David and wife Judy, and Brenda Donise Walker and husband Wes. The numbers are still growing, but they have so far also been blessed with eight grandchildren: Laura Westlake, David Westlake, Sarah Westlake, Lindsay Walker-Cortez and husband Sean, Brittany Walker-Pratt and husband Kevin, Christian Walker, Elizabeth Westlake and Katherine Westlake. They currently have four great-grandchildren: Walker Cortez, Archer Pratt, Cason Cortez and Max Richard Pratt. His legacy will continue, as more are on the way.
A private graveside service (family only please), will be held in Salado, Texas on April 7, 2018.
Memorial donations are welcome at the American Heart Association (donatenow.heart.org), or the charity of your choice.