October 1, 1949 – November 10, 2022
BUXTON — Susan West of Buxton, NC passed away Thursday, November 10, 2022, after a brief illness. Susan was born in Baltimore, Maryland on October 1, 1949. She was a graduate of Towson State University. She worked for the Maryland Historical Society before moving to Hatteras Island in the 1970s and marrying Rob West, a commercial fisherman.
Susan was a true friend of the NC commercial fishing industry and a tireless advocate for local seafood. Among her many accomplishments, she helped organize fishermen’s wives to be a proactive voice in the policy arena. She participated in a collaborative effort that led to the largest overhaul of fisheries management in state history. Most recently she helped organize a leadership program for young commercial fishermen that she coined “Fish Camp.”
Susan, a NC Press Association award winner, was a talented writer. She co-authored the book Fish House Opera (Mystic Seaport Press) and published countless articles in journals, magazines, newspapers, and blogs. She was a careful listener and conducted oral history recordings along the Outer Banks and beyond. She helped train and mentor oral historians on Hatteras Island and Ocracoke so that locals could document their own community’s stories.
Susan was a calm, thoughtful presence in the often-turbulent world of coastal fisheries. She was a trusted resource for friends and colleagues of all stripes from Hatteras Island to New England, Texas, and Alaska. Her wisdom, wit, and legacy will be remembered by the many lives she touched.
Susan is survived by her husband Rob West, mother Betty Jane Butler of Manteo, brothers Billy Butler of Easton, Maryland and Tommy Butler of Raleigh, three nieces Kate, Annie Jane, and Madeline, and her beloved dogs Lydia and Hank. She was preceded in death by her father Thomas Butler.
An informal celebration of Susan’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation.
Twiford Funeral Homes, Outer Banks is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.TwifordFH.com.