Hedi Katharina West
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Hedi Katharina West
  • May 22, 1934 - December 16, 2017
  • San Antonio, Texas

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Hedi K. West, 83, who passed away the morning of Saturday, December 16, 2017, transformed herself from a farm girl in post-war Europe to a world-traveling connoisseur of life and mother of two sons before realizing her lifelong dream of becoming a schoolteacher.
Born May 22, 1934 in the southwest German region known as the Rhineland-Palatinate, she was the fourth child of five who grew up working on the Bildschacherhof, the family's ancestral farm in Landstuhl.
In 1958, Hedi married Samuel Russell, a U.S. Air Force airman, at the post chapel of the Landstuhl Army Medical Center. The couple subsequently moved to Alabama, where they started a family. Her husband took a position with the European Exchange Service, the forerunner to the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES). In 1965, Hedi became a U.S. citizen.
Over time, Hedi and her family were posted at various American military installations in France, Germany, Turkey, Thailand, Texas and Louisiana. During that time, she continued her education in order to pursue her goal of teaching. In 1979, she earned her bachelor's degree from Northwestern State in Natchitoches, Louisiana. She then began to student teach at various schools near Fort Polk, Louisiana.
In 1979, Hedi married Lt. Colonel Joseph West, a retired U.S. Air Force officer and moved to Texas, where she began a teaching career in the Austin area high school system. She eventually taught exclusively at Westlake High School until 1992, when her husband's health issues necessitated a move to San Antonio. She continued teaching with Alamo Heights High School enjoying the fruits of her labor until her retirement in 2011.
Her outside interests were many and included tennis, restoring antique furniture and travel. Hedi had tireless energy and was always working on a project when not negotiating a good deal with local San Antonio businesses.
Hedi made friends easily and quickly plugged herself into the social networks in Windcrest, where she played tennis regularly. An avid player, she enjoyed watching professional tennis and she was able to see her favorite player, Steffi Graf win the 1996 U.S. Open Singles Finals live in Flushing, New York.
Hedi was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 but was able to successfully beat it into remission by early 2016. This success was short-lived, as another, more aggressive cancer surfaced a year later. Although she fought hard, both of her children were with her when she ultimately succumbed.
Hedi is survived by her sons, Steven Russell (Vanessa) of Atlanta and Jason Russell (Jensine) of San Francisco. She also leaves a sister; Emilie Pauly of Bad Pyrmont, Germany as well as her beloved companion, Colonel (Ret) David Muntz of San Antonio.
The funeral will be held on Friday, January 5 at 10:00 at Fort Sam Houston in a private ceremony. A public memorial service will be held the same day in the Army Residence Community located at 7400 Crestway Drive at 1:00 PM.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that in memory of Hedi K. West, contributions may be made to MD Anderson Cancer Center, P.O. Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210-4486 or www.mdanderson.org/gifts.