This morning not long before the dawn of a new Sunday -- the first day of this week -- Sylvia West gently and quietly slipped the tenuous bonds which had been holding her in our world, and stepped into her eternal future, leaving us all both to mourn our loss and rejoice that our lives touched and that she has faithfully completed her journey.
Sylvia was the wife of Bob West, the mother of Suzanne, David, and Robynne, and the heart of Theophilus. Suzanne was blessed to be holding her mother's hand and telling her that she loved her as Sylvia breathed her last earthly air. Today, Sylvia is free of the debilitating disease which, for the past few years, had crippled her body, though not suppressing her spirit, her sense of humor, nor her gifted ability to sense and to reach out to others who needed her ministering hand and her appropriate words.
Though her husband, Bob, is the artist who gave cartoon life, form, and words to Theophilus, it was Sylvia who gave the little cartoon man his heart and often softened his words and inspired him to reach out to others who were hurting or in need. (http://theophilus.org)
Along with Bob and his family and other close friends, we will all miss Sylvia and, with great hope and anticipation of what is to come, continue our own journeys until we meet her again in the presence of our Master and Lord, Jesus.
~ Art Thompson
Sylvia and you fought valiantly for years to prevent this sad day. But this earth is not our eternal dwelling place. It is emotionally wrenching to see her slip away, but then there is a calm peace in knowing she is free from pain forever and that you will join her soon.
God has blessed you immensely by giving you a supportive companion for so long. That gives you plenty of happy memories to help fill the void.
You are also blessed to have caring family to share it with you.
My thoughts and prayers will continue with you, as will also be those of a large family of Theophilus lovers.
~ Cecil Hook
You know Bob, Sylvia was the first and only person in my LIFE to love me unconditionally. She was the one constant thing in my life no matter how far apart we were geographically or in our thoughts at times. She probably never realized the extent to which God used her to help persons who were at that time helpless. I see her as being His hands on earth providing and loving and soothing, COMFORTING ..when other hands lay idle. She had 'response'-ability and she always responded. I had times of despair in which only God could do something to salvage me and many times He did that something through her.
To how some may view what I say ... I say NO, I do not believe she was perfect. NO, I am not idolizing her. I am simply saying: she was 'love in action' for so many that I lose track and the things she did for others may seem small to some, but they were BIG to those that she touched with her kindness and generosity. Memory after memory floods my mind. Her presence made my place in the world (and others) more tolerable because of the light of love she beamed into our lives. Just knowing she was THERE made a difference!! Perhaps that is why I feel angry. Self wants to KEEP what it likes. I apologize for 'venting' Bob but I have written these words and will let them remain, hoping you all, somehow amid sorrowing in the loss of your precious wife and mother, are comforted to know that I feel the loss with you. You are all embedded in my heart because you were in Sylvia's heart. I love you all.
May God put his loving, comforting arms around you and the family as you go through this new phase of your lives without Sylvia. She will still always be there for you -- just not in her earthly human form. I know none of you wanted to give her up, but she truly is in a much better place of no pain and suffering. And oh what a reunion you will have someday!
What an awesome wife you had, Bob. And what an awesome husband she had. You two will be together again one day and I can just see the smile on Sylvia's face when you arrive. I am proud to call myself your and Sylvia's friend.
Bob: Please accept my sincerest condolences. I know that you will be able to cope with the great loss you have suffered because of your strong faith and all the prayers that will be said for you.
~ George B.
I was sorry to hear about Sylvia, but wow, what a legacy she has.
Thank you for letting me share in your family time and in her final days here. She definitely brought joy to everyone around. If there is anything I can do, let me know.
After I got your e-mail, the song "Walking Her Home" came on the radio. I'll never be able to hear it again without thinking of you all.
My heart is full as I write this, grief and relief. Two sides of a coin: joy at knowing Sylvia is standing in the presence of Our Blessed Savior, sadness at knowing the wake of tears she left behind in the people who loved her so much. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. I am so looking forward to being Home one day and spending time getting to know Sylvia better. Until then, we live for the Glory of a Good God.
~ Troy and Julie N.
What can I offer you but my most heartfelt condolences. May the Lord send you a comforting spirit to watch over you in this time of loss. As sad a time as this is for all, I can't help but feel an uplifting sense for Sylvia. I've thought about her, and included her in my prayers from time to time. I thought on what the Lord had planned for her, to take her through such a difficult road. Each time, I felt God's assurance that her struggles yielded fruits not of this earth. She bore her cross, and is now with him who bore it for us all. The sadness we feel is for ourselves, deprived of her presence. And though it is a sad time, all things must pass. When we stand before God, there will be joy to eclipse all sadness. I know that Sylvia stands there now, and may the Lord's peace be upon her forever.
May God bless you, bob. My heart goes out to you and your family.
~ James W.
Dear Bob and family,
Please accept our deepest sympathy, and know that our prayers and thoughts are with you all. We will treasure our memories of Sylvia and the love she brought to you and your family.
Take special care,
~ Cullen and Mary
What sights what glory she is viewing as she is with our Savior and the Father of us all. We love you and always keep you in our hearts and on our minds. God bless you.
~ Cliff R.
Thank you for the manner in which you reported the passing of Sylvia. You have spoken well the emotion of your heart, as well as that of Sylvia. We pray for strength for you and the family to pass through this period of mourning with God's comfort.
I am so thankful for the memories of times passed, and wish for you and the children the blessings of a continuous service in God's service.
With the hope of God's Grace to abound, we remain your brother and sister...
Lynn and Louise
Please accept my condolences and my prayers for you and your family. I have many wonderful memories of Pine Hills and all the people there when I was growing up in the church. You and Sylvia are among those remembered fondly.
~ Jean T. O.
A prayer: Father, we don't really understand the whys and hows of death. Our hearts ache with loss. We cry out for comfort. You have received a ray of sunshine. We are thankful that you are faithful to your promises and we look forward to the time when we all will be re-united with our loved ones from this earth and with you for all eternity. Please give this family strength for the days ahead until we are all together. In Jesus' name, amen.
I was deeply sorry to hear about Sylvia. I will miss her. She was a big part of my youth. I know you will miss her. It is like being torn in half, but your half has to keep going on. Sylvia is home and pain free. We both know she is with Jesus and what can be better than that?
Bob, I've been following your ups and downs with Sylvia over the last several years, and prayed for healing for your life-long companion.
As an aside, it looks like you and I are in exactly the same boat. Happy for our wife who just passed upward, and now having to figure out how to deal with all the details and move forward ourselves. Obviously, Father was finished with Sylvia and Virginia in this life, but clearly he is not finished with you and me yet. Shaloam
Bob -- This message comes with sympathy -- I know the pain of losing your life partner -- but it also comes with rejoicing -- that God is so merciful to take them out of the suffering they endured for so long. Sylvia was such an inspiration to many and she endured so much -- as did you and the family. But we know she has NO PAIN today and is in the care and keeping of our Lord -- Thank you, Lord!!!
~ Jewel H.
I wish you and your family well and many joyous memories of Sylvia at this time of sorrow. I will always appreciate "Honey's" influence on "Sketch's" 'toons. I have learned much from them and of life in the Lord as a result.
In His love,
~ Dave A.
Sylvia & you have been such a great influence on all of us. We are especially appreciative of the way you encouraged & helped our son James in his middle school years.
Joan and Richard K.
Dear Bob: We have such great memories of our time with you and Sylvia. Remember those times and know it won't be long until it's "shouting time in Heaven."
~ Bill and Jane S.
Dear Uncle Bob,
We are so sorry for your loss. I know Aunt Sylvia will be waiting for all of us one day in heaven. You are in our prayers. We love you.
~ Dennis, Pat, and Robert
The beauty of a life well-lived never dies... it continues to embrace and inspire us. Sylvia's generosity of spirit and loving nature will always be treasured in my heart and, as best I can, followed. May you find comfort in your loving memories, dear Bob, and be blessed as you and Sylvia have so blessed others -- especially me.
~ Diana O.
Condolences to you from our family to yours. Your memorial of Sylvia is wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. And thank you for not hiding your gift. I have been reading your website for years now to my children and they all are especially excited about Our Father's Children. May God bless the West family and provide strength and comfort to them He is the Faithful One.
~ Rick, Denan, Erin, Daniel, David and Emma S.
It is very difficult to give up a loved one, but what a great thing to know she's not in pain now. You'll continue to be in our prayers. Love in Him,
~ Buddy, Janie and Leigh Ann
I'm very sorry for your loss. Wish we could have seen more of each other before this happened.
~ Dotty B.
We want you to know our prayers are with you and all the family. I believe Sylvia is at rest now.
~ Bill and Fae B.
Dear Bob and family,
I was so sorry to hear of your loss of precious Sylvia. She touched so many hearts and lives -- including mine. She will be missed and not forgotten. May the peace of God that passes all understanding be yours now and in coming days.
Bob, it is very evident how much you love Sylvia. I know not having her physically with you leaves a BIG vacancy. May the memory of blessed times you shared together bring you comfort during this very difficult time. It's wonderful that we can look forward to a grand reunion with Sylvia. Time passes so swiftly so that day will soon be here! All of you are in my thoughts and prayers.
~ Joyce W.
A memorial to Sylvia has been placed on my website. You can go directly to the page by clicking here.
~ Gaylon West
My fondest and most endearing memory of Sylvia was her great concern and gentle care of one little toddler. She was not concerned that she put so much effort into a class for one. She purchased all new learning aids and taught Jesse with no other children in class. I mentioned this to her several times in years later and she always assured me that one was as important as many. It was her philosophy and her great gift! We will miss her, but we are happy and grateful for the years we have known her and you. Our love and prayers are with you and all your family. We love you!
~ Don, Gail, Kara, & Jesse
Hi Bob! It's Scott...David's friend of 40 years...wow!!! And the one that was baptized on your birthday back in 1974. You and your lovely wife had many Bible studies with me. I can thank you both for introducing me to Jesus Christ. I'm so sorry to hear about the death of your wife. I told David that one of the things I remember about Sylvia was her beautiful smile. I have so many great memories. I haven't seen or talked with you for over 30 years, but sometimes a memory would pass through my head. You were like my 2nd parents for such a long time. Thank you for coming into my life.
~ Scott S.
May God's blessing be upon you in this time of sorrow. Thank God for Godly families and Godly heritages.
~ Stephen M. (Proverbs 16:9)
Dear Bob and family,
We are deeply saddened to hear about Sylvia, however we know that she is with the Lord, and she will not have to suffer anymore. Sylvia was such a wonderful person, with such a heart full of love, caring, and compassion. We will always remember the many wonderful cards that you all have sent us down through the years that we have known each other. If there is anything, that is within our ability, that we can do to help you and your family, please don't hesitate to let us know. We will certainly be praying for all of you. You all are a wonderful blessing to us. We will miss Sylvia very much! We love you all, and thank you so very much for being our friends.
Sincerely in Christ,
~ James, Hilda, Tim, & Jonathan
Dear Bob and family,
Sylvia and I graduated together in 1952. Although our paths went in different directions, I have frequently thought about my days at PBHS and fondly remembered my friendship with Sylvia. We are truly sorry for your loss. We will continue to hold all of you in our prayers.
God bless you,
~ Nancy & Jim
It's such a bitter sweet time. We are so glad she's not in pain anymore and she's in a place we long to be -- yet -- we miss her so. We are so glad we got to be there Thanksgiving and see what a special lady she was. I know you must miss her terribly. You're in our thoughts and prayers.
All our love,
~ Jim, Kim and Devin
When words seem meaningless, hugs can say so much;
I'm sending you a big one today!
~ Steve and Caroline
Thinking of you today with deep and sincere sympathy. On the flip side of the coin -- so grateful Sylvia suffers no more.
Love and prayers
~ Tom and Pearl A.
Dear Bob and Suzanne and Family,
What a wonderful woman you had in your lives. . . a beautiful and faithful wife, a godly and encouraging mother, and a woman with deep and abiding faith! I remember and cherish the good times we shared in Brevard, and though our paths did not continue, time nor distance did not dim the joy we all shared. I especially hold in my heart, the times that Ernest and I shared with Sylvia and Bob. . . we did have a meaningful work for the Lord. . . ALL OF THAT WILL NEVER PASS AWAY. . . know I still care.
In HIS Love,
I have been so blessed to know you and Sylvia, and to have been friends with you both. I told Sylvia not long before she passed how much she had blessed me over the years. Sending cards -- never a birthday did she miss for me, Ricky or the Kids -- always encouraging us in the Lord. Words of wisdom and even hearing from God and speaking it to me just a week before passing -- things only god could have told her. I know one day I'll see her again. She will be greatly missed, but I know she's with the Lord, having no more pain, and at total peace. What a mighty child of God. We love you and if there's anything we can do, just call.
~ Marie, Ricky and Kids
I am truly sorry for the loss of your precious wife, Sylvia. What a joy she was to myself and my family. She was always filled with words of encouragement for me. I'm so happy to know how excited she was when she heard Brandon and I were getting married.
I know she is enjoying Jesus right now and is no longer in any pain. May we all continue to carry her torch; showing compassion and encouragement to one another as she did.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
I am a bit shaken that I found out about this so late, so I begin this note asking for your forgiveness. I trust that our eternal Lord, King and High Priest will offer the needed and timely consolation. All of us who had the high privilege of meeting Sylvia will surely remember her with love, so let us now rejoice for the fact that she now dwells fully in the comfort of the blessed rest, the one promised to all the Lord's saints.
May you be blessed in His rest, Hebrews 4:10,
~ Alexander R.
What can I say to you, Bob? and your family? I am lifting you up in prayer and so will my sister and her prayer tearm when she contacts me again. My condolences.
~ George K.
How can I begin to express my feelings in the loss of my best friend and "sister" since junior high school (sixty years ago)? Sylvia and I started out as "best buddies," then quickly became a part of each other's family.
When Sylvia married Bob, he instantly became my best male friend and "brother." Over the years, we shared many joys and sorrows and were always "there" for each other, no matter what! Bob, I pray that you, the children and the rest of the family know that I will always be "there" for you. I love you all and count you among my greatest blessings!
God bless and be with you all -- always!
The is so much in our hearts to say -- first to you and your precious children and grandchildren -- we are praying for you and the grief you are experiencing. Yet we know the joy you feel that Sylvia is more alive than she has ever been, pain free and "breathing" the Holy Spirit as she sits at Jesus' feet. It makes us smile to think of her smile -- bigger and brighter than it has ever been before.
Sylvia had such compassion for others. Yet her compassion for others in no way watered down her stand for what was just and right.
Her gift of sending cards which one received just at the right moment was incredible. We received many of those over the years. We envied her ability to know just when to say and do the right thing and send the right card.
We love you Bob. And we miss Sylvia just knowing she is not there with you. Our hearts ache for Suzanne, David and Robynne and their families also.
God bless you in these hard days ahead.
~ Dan & Cheryl (Cyber & Debit)
Note from Bob: Cyber and Debit are characters in the Theophilus comic strip based on Dan and Cheryl's part in our spiritual journey.
You probably remember me as Anita Thompson from Pine Hills. My husband Bruce and I have lived in Dade City since we graduated from USF in 1969. We attend church with David and Vickie, and just love them both. They have a wonderful family.
We will be thinking of you and your family tomorrow when you have the memorial service. I know Sylvia is greatly missed. You have created a wonderful tribute to her.
~ Anita Lockliear
I grieve deeply for you sir. I emailed you awhile back and you testified to God for me when I went through a season of doubt and a season of question.
I told you of parts of my life and you conveyed a message from your wife to me that the Holy Spirit was with my small group of people I lead. I am very thankful for that message and for your time.
What a precious life lost and what an eternity gain. So many times, people ask, "Why does God let bad things happen to good people?" We both know tht God didn't take your wife. He received her and will receive all of us who love Him. We just have to learn to wait and honor Christ with the years we have left after they are gone.
Thank you for sharing such a difficult time Mr. West. I know that God says He will wipe away every tear. I've always wondered if He would wipe away the happy ones when we are reunited with those we love. What a picture of God's grace!
Mr. West, I am so saddened at your loss, but what an outstanding woman of God you've spent your life with. I know when the season of mourning is done, God will use you to serve Him and the Kingdom that your wife is now a resident of in a mighty way. Thank you for both your impact and this wonderful woman with her message to me and my group.
I don't believe there are any words that will comfort your heart from man, but I pray that the Prince of Peace administer peace to your heart.
~ Dave Ashworth
Dear Bob and Family,
Thank you for sharing Sylvia in such a beautiful way. Bob, I am so glad you took the time to let me know Sylvia had passed and that you were working on this memorial for her. I have been touched by the love I see here. All of you are so blessed to have a close family. Once again, thank you for taking the time.
Bob, I have put off writing a comment here because I thought I'd need to wait until I could set aside enough time. As I start to write, I believe the real reason for procrastination was because I feel the pain of Sylvia's lost more strongly as I try to put my feelings into words.
When you married her, she became my sister-in-law. I have been blessed to have been given 3 "in-laws" and they all became beloved family. Sylvia was the first.
There was a change in our family when Sylvia joined it. She was a hugger and I would stand in line when you and Sylvia came, for a hug from Sylvia. Our family has been a hugging family ever since.
It is hard to select a few words about Sylvia after 53 years of our relationship. I think I should have told her how I loved her when I saw her in February. I wouldn't have been able to do so without breaking down, though. I went to see her, hoping to cheer her up and take her mind off of her pain for a while. So that wouldn't have worked.
She was so kind to make a place in your home for me when I needed it. You and she provided a "vacation place," almost yearly for me to visit the mountains. She labored over making food for picnics (luscious fruit salads) and guided our tours for waterfalls, over and over.
I'll summarize my feeling by saying that I have some wonderful memories of times spent with Sylvia. And then to say, "Thank you, Bob, for choosing Sylvia to be part of our family."
Bob, David and Suzanne and families,
What a great memorial service!!! What a blessing to be there!!! I have seldom been so uplifted and almost never at the death of a dear friend. I thank the Lord that I knew Sylvia and indeed all the family. I know that you all will miss her, but the time will be all too short till we see her again. Life here IS a vapor.
Love you all more than I can say.
~ Alice Ann
Wow, what an awesome testimony! Thanks for sharing Sylvia's story and her journey to Heaven. I have been blessed by your faith in Jesus!
~ Carl S.
It is hard for me to tell what is in my heart. I loved Sylvia as my own sister. I was 15 years old when she came into our family. She was good to me and I was impressed with her. She gave me my first straight skirt and made me a dress. Being 15, I felt very important to receive this attention from Sylvia.
I remember how much fun it was to visit you and Sylvia when you lived in Orlando. Then there was the time we went to North Carolina with you and Sylvia for a week. It rained all week, but we still had a good time. Sylvia would think of fun things to do.
Later, when you moved to North Carolina, we would visit you. Sylvia always went with us to show us all the fun things to see. She also fixed very good meals for us.
We will miss Sylvia. We are praying that God will help you through this time of loss.
~ Linda (and Wayne)
Our thoughts and prayers are with you! We honored Sylvia on Easter Sunday with flowers in the church. It was beautiful. She will always be remembered.
~ Ronda, Mike, and Anthony
I enjoyed the pictures and can hardly believe she is HOME. Her journey has ended in Victory for all. Our prayer for you is rest and rejuvenation in body, soul and spirit. May the last leg of your journey be your most productive for the Kingdom's sake.
~ Rick and Judy
I am so sorry to hear about your wife's passing. Our church was praying for her. She is with our FATHER watching you and smiling. GOD bless you and your work.
~ Bill E.
Please allow me to express my condolences on your loss (and heaven's gain). During the past few years, I have read your comics and website with much interest. It was only this evening, after a 9 month absence, that I once again visited your site to see what was new; I was brokenhearted to learn of your wife's passing.
I know that God will continue to bless you as you continue to bless others with the work He has called you to.
~ Frank C.