Gilbert Lorenzo West Jr., affectionately known as “Bertie,” was the eldest child of the late Gilbert Lorenzo West Sr. and Allyne Carolyn Anderson West. He was born on July 11, 1952 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Guided by his parents, his siblings, and the principles of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, he grew up in public housing, at St. Clair Village and Broadhead Manor. After graduation from Langley High School in 1970, he relocated to New York City. Using skills taught to him by his father and uncles, he was self-employed as a construction contractor. A brilliant linguist and lifelong learner, he taught himself to speak fluent Arabic and Spanish while living in Washington Heights, NYC. He also acquired considerable business and financial acumen. Gilbert was passionate about sharing his knowledge with others. He spent time in Rikers Island during the mid-1970s. After his release, he returned back to New York and once again fell into the clutches of the authorities, which led to his incarceration in the early 1980s in Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, NY. During this period, Gilbert converted to Islam. Following his release in 1986, he became widely-known throughout Harlem, NYC as Gilbert 8X, a lieutenant in the Nation of Islam’s Fruit of Islam where he served at Mosque No. 7 under the leadership of Captain Yusuf Shaw. A life-long martial artist, Bertie provided part-time security service for R&B artists Guy and New Edition. From 1996 to 1999, Bertie was incarcerated at U.S. Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas where he developed diplomatic skills that allowed him to converse with people from all walks of life. In 1999 he was transferred to McKean Federal Correctional Institution in Lewis Run, PA. For the first eight years of his sentence, he taught finance and economics while earning a paralegal degree. He was released in 2007 and returned to Pittsburgh under McKean’s work release program. Gilbert was employed by Eco Star Communication, and he also worked in customer service for AT&T and several other telecommunication companies. In 2010 he founded GLW Global Inc., to market the “Easy Seat”, a product he invented for women. He also developed a hydroponic gardening project, which impressed PNC’s senior-level management team. A life-long fitness enthusiast, Gilbert enjoyed spending time in the gym weight lifting and swimming. A passionate runner, he enjoyed daily five-mile jogs around Highland Park’s reservoir. As a practicing Muslim, he diligently studied the Qur’an and strictly adhered to Islamic dietary laws. Bertie’s final years were spent in McKeesport, PA sharing a home with his beloved brother Michael. Gilbert Lorenzo West Jr., 68, entered into the afterlife on January 9, 2021, at Canterbury Place in Pittsburgh PA. He leaves to cherish his memory five siblings: Cecilia A. Walls, Pittsburgh, PA. Michael A. West, McKeesport, PA.; Derek W. (Vinnette) West; Edwin A. West, N. Dakota; Quentin K. West, and Lamont A.West, Pittsburgh, PA, and a host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and admirers.
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