By Frank Johnston-Main
Knowlton lost a remarkable teacher and citizen on December 12, with the passing of Robert (Bob) West.
Bob was born in Calcutta and raised in England. Upon graduating from college, he joined the Royal Navy, serving in the Asia-Pacific region at the end of WWII. Following his discharge, he studied Education at the University of St. Andrews, where he met and fell for the charming and very gracious Dorothy Peattie. Her smile had him right away, and they married in Scotland in 1953.
The couple immigrated to Canada in 1956, via Rothesay, NB, before settling in Knowlton in the early 1960s, where he taught at Knowlton High School and Knowlton Academy into the early 1970s, eventually becoming school principal.
He was a unique and imaginative teacher of English, and former students recall his Shakespearean play presentations with fondness. He loved to simply read to his class, whether it be a Shakespearean sonnet, or of hunting wild game in the African jungle, bringing faraway places and adventure to life in the minds and imagination of his students!
Above all else, he encouraged each and every student to seek out one’s individuality, to value it and to constantly nurture it. His interests and passions were varied and many. He loved antiques and old cars. In 1969, he and Dorothy opened their antique shop, Griffon Antiques, which remained open until 2021, and he was a connoisseur of fine food. He was an avid dry fly fisherman and had an ardent passion for fine classical music. He also loved rural England, to where he and Dorothy retreated regularly.
He was a warm and gentle man and his wonderful laugh will be greatly missed, not only by Dorothy and family, but by all who were fortunate enough to be in his classes, to visit his antique shop, or to simply meet him in the grocery store.