• Photo Credit: Educate!

Harold B. West Founder (1892-1954)

Harold B. West was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1892. He began showing his entrepreneurial talent at an early age, establishing his first business venture with a carrying route for the Saturday Evening Post, later acquiring a series of routes all over his hometown and hiring other boys to deliver the periodical. Following high school, Mr. West attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, working his way through college as a tutor, and completing the Wharton School of Business four-year program in three years. During his time at Wharton, Mr. West decided to enter the bread baking business. After graduation, he accepted an internship at a bakery in Washington, DC, where he was approached to enlist during World War I to direct the establishment of what was at the time the world’s largest overseas bakery, producing 800,000 lbs. of bread daily to feed U.S. troops. Leaving the U.S. Army as a captain in 1919, he selected Indianapolis as the site for establishing his own bakery, purchasing the Daugherty Cake Company and using it as the basis for organizing West Baking Company that same year. By the end of the 1920s, Mr. West had built his enterprise into one of the largest independent bakeries in the county, promoting that angle by splashing the words “Emphatically Independent” across the company’s delivery vehicles. West Baking Company continued to thrive throughout the 1930s, bread being a staple item of most people’s diets, even in times of economic crisis. During World War II, Mr....
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Hilda K. West (1898-1984)

Hilda K. West (nee Kirkman) was born in Richmond, Indiana in 1898. The daughter of Indiana state senator Roscoe Kirkman, and suffragette and temperance advocate Ginevra Hill Kirkman, she held the position of church organist at Second Lutheran Church in Richmond at age 14, and was valedictorian of the Richmond High School Class of 1915 at 16 years of age. She graduated from Indiana University in 1920 as a member of Delta Gamma Sorority and Mu Phi music sorority as well as being concertmistress of the Indiana University Symphony Orchestra. Mrs. West moved to Indianapolis that same year.  Trained as both musician and teacher, she immediately began teaching at Emmerich Manual High School on the city’s south side. After meeting Harold West at a garden party, she married him in 1923. Upon beginning their life together, she reminded him that cooking and cleaning were not her fortes; he informed her that they would hire someone to handle these responsibilities as she had important work to complete in the community. This work, alongside raising their two children and maintaining her professional position as concertmistress of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra from 1930-1937, became her life’s mission. A civic leader in all respects, Mrs. West served on multiple boards of community agencies, including Flanner House (1937-1955), Day Nursery Association (1938-1955), Fletcher Place Community Center (1947-1962), the United Way and its predecessor, the Community Fund (1950-1967), and the Social Health Association (1961-1984). Additionally, she served as a trustee of Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana...
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Stephen R. West (1931-2010)

Following his childhood in Indianapolis, Mr. West attended Carleton College, graduating cum laude in 1953 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and a minor in government. Following two years of military service as a corporal in the U.S. Army, he attended Harvard University, earning a Master of Business Administration degree in 1957. Upon graduation, Mr. West returned to Indianapolis to assume the positions of Vice President and Treasurer of West Baking, Inc. In addition to working in his family business, Mr. West had a virtual second career as an elected official, serving on the Indianapolis City-County Council for 24 years, from 1972-1996. From 1972-1992, he held office representing District 6, and later served as an at-large councilor from 1992-1996. Mr. West also was elected vice president and majority leader of the council from 1988-1993. During his years in public office, he held numerous chairs on the council, including committees for Administration, Economic Development, Public Safety and Criminal Justice, and Public Works. Additionally, his council service included roles on the boards of directors for the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee and the National League of Cities. Mr. West also served on a wide variety of non-profit organizations in his private life. From 1984 – 2010, he was president of The West Foundation, Inc. Additionally, he served as president of both Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association and the Indiana Conference of Congregational Christian Churches. Other civic experience included membership on the boards of trustees for Christian Theological Seminary, The Defiance College, Edyvean Repertory...
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