We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Lord & Stephens West
Dr. J. Michael West, MD, 74, of Athens, died peacefully at home on Saturday, June 18, 2022 surrounded by his family. He was a family man, doctor, and an ardent fan of college football, especially the University of Georgia. He was born in Port Arthur, Texas on May 19, 1948, raised in Florida and spent his adult and professional life in Athens, Georgia.
Mike grew up in Lakeland, Florida where he attended Lakeland High School, graduating in 1966. He went on to Florida State University earning a BA in pre-med, and then to the University of Miami School of Medicine. During his sophomore year he married Susan Murphy and received his MD in 1974. After completing his internship and residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Mike and Susan moved to Texas for his Gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Texas at San Antonio at Bexar County Hospital, graduating in 1979.
In July of 1979 Mike, Susan and infant son Nick moved to Athens to open the first GI practice in the city, at 1077 Baxter Street. He was instrumental in founding the GI departments at Athens Regional Medical Center (now Piedmont) and St. Mary’s Hospital.
Mike was a member of the American Gastroenterology Association, on the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Athens and the National Bank of Georgia, and on the Board of St. Mary’s Hospital. He was also a member of the vestry at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Athens.
Mike loved medicine and was drawn to teaching and mentoring his colleagues and staff. A frequent lecturer at University of Georgia School of Pharmacy, Mike was remembered for his breadth of subject matter knowledge, his generosity of spirit and his calming bedside manner. He was an excellent diagnostician because he was a great listener.
Mike and Susan’s two sons were his proudest accomplishment. He treasured the men that Nick and Jeff have become, and their grandchildren were his greatest delight.
Traveling was his favorite hobby. He enjoyed experiencing new places, food, and history and always loved planning the next adventure. He was a voracious reader, a gourmet cook and a proud supporter of the Georgia Bulldogs as a member of the Touchdown Club.
Mike was an independent practitioner, first at 1077 Baxter Street, then at 740 Prince Avenue. He recently joined the Atlanta Gastroenterology Group and moved to the new office at 340 N. Milledge, where he practiced until his retirement on March 31 of this year.
The son of the late Jack Milton West and Geraldine Elaine Payne of Lakeland, Florida, Mike is survived by his wife of over 50 years Susan Murphy West, their son Nicholas Murphy (Molly Hill) West and their children Ella Murphy West (10) and Emily Ophelia West (7), and their other son Jeffrey Michael (Jennifer Frazier) West and their children Jackson Matthew West (7), Bennett Charles West (5) and a granddaughter due this November, all of Atlanta. Other survivors include his sister Kay West (Gary) Ruhle of Lakeland, Florida and their daughter Jessica Kay Ruhle of Billings, Montana, his sister-in-law Sally Murphy Berryman MD, brother-in-law Greg Berryman MD of Bradenton, Florida and their children Tom Berryman of Chicago, Illinois and John Berryman of Greenville, South Carolina, and his brother-in-law Douglas Roe (Susan Romaine) Murphy MD of Ocala, Florida and their children Deanna Murphy (Sean) Dorsy of Greenville, South Carolina, Kelly Murphy (Marsid) Tusha of Ocala, Florida and Mary Katherine Murphy of Austin, Texas.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, June 29 at Emmanuel Episcopal Church at 4:00 p.m. The family will receive friends the evening prior at Lord and Stephens, West Chapel on Tuesday, June 28 from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Boys and Girls Club of Athens, P.O. Box 546, Athens GA, 30603 or at greatfuturesathens.com; the Athens Food Bank, 861 Newton Bridge Rd, Athens, GA 30607 or at foodbanknega.org; the American Cancer Society, PO Box 6704, Hagerstown, MD 21741, or at cancer.org; or the Glioblastoma Foundation, P.O.Box 62066, Durham, NC 27715 or at glioblastomafoundation.org.
Lord and Stephens WEST, Watkinsville, is in charge of arrangements. www.lordandstephens.com
American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City OK 73123
Boys and Girls Club of Athens
P.O. Box 546, Athens GA 30603
P.O.Box 62066, Durham NC 27715
Food Bank of Northeast Georgia
861 Newton Bridge Rd, Athens GA 30607