In Memoriam: John Benton Westfall (1927 – 2009)

Posted on 12 May 2009 by admin


John WestfallMr. John Benton Westfall, 81, an avid community leader, supporter, and retiree of the Phillips Petroleum Co., passed away at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday in the Heritage Villa Nursing Center.

Funeral services for Mr. Westfall will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 in the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. The Rev. Dr. T. Lee Stephens and Father Christopher Waters will be the officiants. Family final rites will be directed by The Arnold Moore Funeral Service.

Memorials in remembrance to Mr. Westfall have been established with the Cherokee Area Council Boy Scouts of America, Bartlesville; the Philmont Staff Association, Cimarron, New Mexico; the Anglican Church of St. Paul, Owasso, Okla. and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 210 E. 9th, Bartlesville, Oklahoma 74003.

John Benton Westfall was born on September 7, 1927 in Kansas City, Missouri. He was the son of the late Benton F. Westfall and Marguerite Inlow (Durbon) Westfall. He began his education in Kansas City, Missouri and moved with his family members to Independence, Kansas where he was graduated with the Senior Class of 1945 from the Independence High School. He continued his education and was a student at what is now known as Pittsburg State University with a Major in Psychology and a Minor in Chemistry. He was a member of the Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity. He was President of the student body and Alpha Phi Omega. John was active in scouting throughout his life, spending summers on the staff at Philmont Scout Ranch where he wrote THE PHILMONT HYMN at the age of 16, which is still used today.

He began his career in Tall Corn Area Council, Boy Scouts of America in Des Moines, Iowa where he organized the Mitigwa Dancers troop and led high adventure explorer scout groups. He was transferred to Cherokee Area Council, Boy Scouts of America in Bartlesville. John joined the Phillips Chemical Co. in 1960 and moved to Akron, Ohio, Rhode Island, Toronto, Canada and Chicago, Illinois as Regional Manager prior to making his final home in Bartlesville. He retired in 1985 and later was Director of Tourism for the Bartlesville Chamber of Commerce. Following his retirement, he enjoyed teaching senior high for many years as a substitute teacher.

Mr. Westfall was active in Bartlesville Downtown Lion’s Club, served on the Board of Youth and Family Services and Cherokee Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. He was active in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church as a Lay Vicar in Nowata, a Lay Reader for fifteen years and served on the Vestry of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. He taught Sunday School for three years. He is a recipient of the Silver Beaver award from the Cherokee Area Council and the Silver Sage award from the Philmont Staff Association. John was a recipient of the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award, Jim Gillie Award, Allied Arts and Humanities Council of Bartlesville, Distinguished Community Service Award; the Phillip R. “Phil” Phillips Award. In the Scouting program, he also was a scout camp staff member in Kansas and Iowa; Eagle Scout with five Palms; Explorer Ranger; Philmont Lone staffer and a member of the Philmont staff. He was active in the Order of the Arrow, Field Scout Executive, Des Moines, Iowa; District Scout Executive in Bartlesville; organized and was first President of Delta Mu Chapter, Alpha Phi Omega and was Camp Orator and Asst. Camp Director at Camp Cherokee; Troop Committee member, Akron, Ohio, Scoutmaster of Troop, Riverside, Rhode Island; Member of Executive Board, Cherokee Area Council and Friends of Scouting fund raiser.

In the limelight in civic leadership, John Westfall was a member and past President, Downtown Bartlesville Lions Club; member of Board of Directors of Youth and Family Services; member of Graduated Sanctions committee working with youthful offenders. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Bartlesville Civic Ballet. John was responsible for bringing the first Fly In to Bartlesville and to further his civic credits, he was the initiator and creator of the local Indian Summer Festival.

Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Barbara Jean (Plake) Westfall, of the Bartlesville home and to whom he was united in marriage on June 26, 1949 and would have celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary this coming June; one son, Mark Benton Westfall and wife Nancy of Oxford, Kansas; one daughter, Barbara Ellen (Westfall) Hirst and her husband John of Barnhart, Missouri; five grandchildren, Jessica, Crystal and Sarah Westfall and Anastasia and Joseph Benton Hirst; one cousin, Norma Jean Johnson an husband Jim of Denver, Colorado and dear friends, Tom and Judy Chamberlain and their sons, David and Peter.

The Westfall family would like to extend their sincerest appreciation for the loving kindness and care extended to John by Rivercross Hospice and the Heritage Villa Nursing Center of Bartlesville.

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