Utah History Encyclopedia


By John Sillitoe
Jean Miles Westwood was born in Price, Utah, on 22 November 1923, the daughter of Frances Marion and Nettie Potter Miles. She married Richard E. Westwood in 1941, and they were the parents of two children. Westwood attended Carbon College (College of Eastern Utah) and also has taken classes at the University of Utah, Utah State University, University of Colorado and San Diego State College. In the mid 1940s Westwood and her husband organized the Westwood Mink farms with which she was associated until the early 1980s. She was secretary of the Utah Mink Show from 1951 to 1954, and also was involved with other business enterprises.

In the mid-1950s Westwood took an active role in the Utah Democratic party and served in a variety of capacities. In 1965-66 she served as a staff member for U.S. Congressman David S. King. In the mid-1960s Westwood became active in national Democratic party affairs, serving as a national delegate on several occasions and as Utah's national committeewoman. In 1968 she served as coordinator of the Utah Humphrey-for- President campaign. Four years later, she became the vice- chair of the McGovern-for- President Committee, and when the South Dakota Senator received the Democratic presidential nomination, he named Westwood chair of the Democratic National Committee.

After McGovern's defeat, Westwood continued her activity in Democratic politics on both the national and the state level. Between 1976 and 1988, Westwood was associated with the national presidential campaigns of Terry Sanford, Gary Hart and Bruce Babbitt. In 1982, she was a consultant to Peterson Zah in his bid to become tribal chairman of the Navajo Nation.

In addition to her political work, Westwood has been active as a publisher and writer. She was the publisher of the American Fur Breeder from 1957 to 1962, she has published award-winning articles, reviews and essays in a number of magazines and journals, and received a first place award from Writer's Digest in that magazines annual short story. She has also received an honorary degree from the College of Eastern Utah and was recognized by the Utah Women's Political Caucus with their Susa Young Gates Outstanding Woman of Utah award in 1974. Westwood is a member of many civic, professional and political clubs and organizations. Since the mid-1970s, Westwood has resided in Arizona, where she has been active in state Democratic politics.