Gwendolyn Viola West Clayton, age 101, of Gilbertsville, PA passed away on December 27, 2022. Born in Long Branch, NJ, Gwen was the daughter of the late Cornelius Van Nyce West, Sr. and Emma Viola (nee Pearce) West.
The firstborn of ten siblings, Gwen was a 1939 graduate of AD Eisenhower High School in Norristown, where she was a varsity cheerleader. After her young husband died in 1951, Gwen raised their four children and graduated from the Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn University). Following a second marriage, she raised another child and helped rear a granddaughter. For many years, Gwen was a laboratory assistant at McNeil Laboratories where she was named Woman of the Year for 1990. She also travelled to India to visit a leper hospital founded by a friend’s husband.
Then at age 68 she retired, went to Africa as a member of a medical missionary team, and participated in many archeological "digs" in the Holy Land. There, she helped discover the lost Fortress of Ai and later, after 10 years’ research, published a book in 2016 at age 95. The first edition of Solomon’s Temple Was Not Hybrid was well received in notable US divinity schools and universities. A University professor of Biblical archeology told Gwen her research and book were “monumental works.”
In her later years, Gwen spent many hours every day tirelessly working to help the world understand that the ancient Jerusalem temples were patterned after Israel's Tabernacle Tent rather than pagan temples, as claimed by some modern scholars.
Gwen is survived by four children, James of Fairfax Station, Virginia; Andrew of Suffolk, Virginia; Mary Lynn Tartaglia of Gypsum, Colorado and Wayne Arnold of Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Surviving family also includes 8 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren, as well as numerous nieces and nephews and their families. She was pre-deceased by all her siblings, her two husbands and one son.
The family has no plans for an immediate service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Gwen’s name to Associates for Biblical Research, P.O. Box 144, Akron, PA 17501.