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Extension Service Veteran Sharon West Ends Battle with Cancer

LAS CRUCES -- Sharon West, who worked with thousands of 4-H members in New Mexico as a 32-year veteran of the Cooperative Extension Service, died Feb. 26 after a battle with cancer.


West retired Jan. 31 as program director of the Doņa Ana County Extension office with New Mexico State University. She had held that post since 1998 and had served as an Extension home economist since 1988 in the county, where she also led 4-H home economics programs.

West was honored with the Extension Award by NMSU's College of Agriculture and Home Economics in April 2000.

"She will go down in Extension history as one of the most complete Extension agents that New Mexico has ever employed," said Dan Liesner, Extension's southwest district department head.

"Sharon devoted her entire adult life to working with 4-H young people and thousands of 4-H alumni have had their lives impacted by her," said Billy Dictson, associate dean and Extension director.

West's roots with the 4-H program ran deep. She served as junior leader to the Stitch and Stir 4-H club in Eddy County at age 13. After graduating from Carlsbad Senior High School in 1965 and earning a bachelor's degree in home economics, she began her Extension career in 1969 as a trainee in Eddy County. She worked from 1970 to 1985 as a Curry County Extension home economist with 4-H duties, winning a Meritorious Service Award from the 4-H Council there.

She left to finish her master's degree in home economics in 1986 at NMSU and worked in the Luna County Extension office for one year before joining the Doņa Ana County Extension office. She was well-known across the state for her work as co-superintendent of the New Mexico State Fair 4-H Exhibits Department. She authored 18 4-H and Extension home economics publications and served as an officer for the state Association of Extension 4-H Agents, state Association of Extension Home Economists and Epsilon Sigma Phi honorary Extension society.

In Dona Ana County, she was a strong contributor to the Mesilla Valley Red Ribbon Campaign, Partners for Prevention and the Agriculture in the Classroom program.