Biography of John C. West

John C. WestJohn Carl West was born in Camden, S.C. on August 27, 1922. He graduated from the Citadel in 1942 and attained the rank of Army major in World War II. He received his law degree summa cum laude at the University of South Carolina Law School in 1948.

He started as a law partner in a Camden firm and was elected to the State Senate from Kershaw County in 1954. From 1966 through 1970, he was lieutenant governor, and in 1970, he won the gubernatorial election in South Carolina. He was the Governor of South Carolina from 1971 to 1975.

In 1977, President Carter chose him as his ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He later became a distinguished professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of South Carolina.

Governor West was married to Lois Rhame West, a Winthrop University graduate who studied physical education. They had three children.

On March 21, 2004, Governor West, died at his home on Hilton Head Island after a long battle with cancer at age 81.

Suggested Readings:

Grose, Philip G. 2011. Looking for Utopia: The Life and Times of John C. West. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.

The Globalization of Spartanburg: A Story of Local Leaders and State Supporters," Journal of Political Science 43 (December 2015): 73-98.