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In Memory

Leroy Westgate

LeRoy Kent Westgate Obituary

LeRoy Kent Westgate

February 20, 1945 - June 21, 2017


LeRoy was born on February 20, 1945, in Defiance, Ohio. Early on in his life, his family moved to Adrian, Michigan, where they stayed until moving to California in 1955. Even though they relocated, his love for the University of Michigan continued to run through his veins until the end…Go Blue! After graduating from Lodi High School and San Joaquin Delta College, he received his B.A. from Sacramento State University with a major in music.

His passion for music started early when he chose to play the cornet in his own father's band in third grade. Through the years he continued to learn all instruments and found a particular love for percussion. He began his 33-year career in music education as the band director of Exeter Union High School in 1968. In 1974, he moved to Visalia and took a position as the director at Green Acres Middle School and the assistant to the Redwood High School Band. In 1979, he moved to Divisadero Middle School to oversee the band program and the bands for the surrounding elementary schools. He remained there until his retirement in 2001. The year before he retired he was honored with the Middle School Teacher of the Year. LeRoy inspired and shared his love of music with thousands of students during his tenure ranging in age from fifth grade to high school. Most likely, though, his most proud pupils were his two daughters, Brynne (trombone) and Justine (euphonium) who not only played, but also became drum majors at Mt. Whitney High School. Even after retirement, he continued playing in the Tule British Brass Band and for the orchestra at GateWay Church.

LeRoy's life cannot be easily summed up without acknowledging his gracious and giving heart, which was the foundation of how he chose to live his life. A man who put his faith in action, he volunteered at Bethlehem Center, was instrumental in the construction of a Habitat House as both a builder and family sponsor, donated platelets at the local blood bank, served on the Board of Trustees at the Visalia United Methodist Church and offered a smile to anyone who passed his way. Our photographs, which were often taken by him, capture our memories filled with camping and hiking across the West, motorcycle rides with the local Yamaha Star club, competitive board and card games, impromptu dance parties and family meals that he would prepare.

LeRoy was preceded in death by his parents Ray and Treva Westgate, as well as his sister Maureen Clemons and brother Larry Westgate. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Lynne, and their daughters Brynne Westgate-Ganott (Jason) and Justine Kincade (Grant). LeRoy fiercely loved his five grandchildren: Addison, Magnus, Noah, Adelynn and Lucas and he deserved more time to watch them grow. He is also survived by his brothers, Jim (Donna) Westgate, and Steve Westgate, sister-in-law JoAnn Westgate and many nieces and nephews.

The family would like to personally thank and recognize Wendi Valdez and her staff at Prestige Memory Care. You not only helped care for him, but supported our family as we navigated this painful process.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday July 8, 2017 at 11:00 am at GateWay Church 1100 S. Sowell in Visalia.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be given to UCSF Foundation, Memory and Aging Center. Visit online: makeagift@ucsf.edu/brain or the Tulare County Symphony P.O. Box 1201 Visalia, CA 93279.

Tributes and condolences may be made at www.millerchapel.com.

Published in Tulare Advance-Register & Visalia Times-Delta from July 5 to July 6, 2017