Henry West, 64, past president of burley co-op, dies

Henry West, who represented thousands of tobacco growers in five states during the landmark buyout legislation, died Wednesday.

Mr. West, 64, was president of the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association in 2004 and became a key player in the $9.6 billion buyout that did away with price supports in effect since the Depression.

"He just worked tirelessy to get that done," said friend and former colleague, Danny McKinney, the co-op's retired CEO. West and McKinney made several trips to Washington to meet with Kentucky's senators and representatives to win support.

West owned and operated Henry West Farms in the community of Paint Lick, where he was also a member and leader in the Paint Lick United Methodist Church. He also served on the Garrard County Farm Bureau and the water board.

For 15 years, he was a director for the burley co-op representing Garrard, Lincoln and Pulaski counties and later a vice president. In 2001, he lost a district election, but became co-op president later that year after Rod Kuegel's retirement. He was re-elected the following year.

Visitation is from 5-9 p.m. Friday at Spurlin Funeral Home in Lancaster. Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Saturday.