A Middletown resident is being remembered for his years of dedication to public education and for his service to several community organizations and events.
Fred Finney, who served 12 years on the Middletown School Board, including as board president, died March 4. He was 95.
Chris Urso, board of education president for Middletown City School District, said Finney was “a kind person and very personable” and how “had a positive influence on the community and its schools.”
Urso remembered Finney attending sporting events and always being “an uplifting person to speak with. He was an advocate and champion for Middletown City Schools and will be missed.”
In 2002, Finney won the highly coveted All American Citizen award presented during Middletown’s All American Weekend, a July 4th festival that benefitted the high school’s athletic program.
Ann Mort served on the school board with Finney and said he and his wife, Phyllis, were part of the “Middie Gang,” a group of about a dozen people who attended every Middie boys basketball and football game for decades.
“He was always there when the Booster Club was holding an event, from the very beginning of All American Weekend to the bitter end, painting Barnitz Stadium and building the track,” Mort said.
Finney was a longtime community volunteer serving in a wide variety of roles from volunteering at Mayfield and McKinley elementary schools to serving on the school board. He kept score for the Middletown High School’s boys basketball games for many years, served as a youth fellowship counselor at his church and volunteered for Special Olympics, the Pigskin/Roundball Spectacular and Junior Achievement.
He worked with Jack Gordon and Carel Cosby when WPFB radio broadcast Middie basketball games. Finney kept the statistics while Gordon handled play by play and Cosby was the color commentator
“They were three totally different people who became very dear friends,” said Diane Wilson, one of Finney’s two daughters. “They spent some very special times together.”
Finney’s daughters, Wilson and Jane Blazer said they will miss their father’s sense of humor and taking him out in the community where he always knew someone.
A 1945 Trenton High School graduate, Finney served in the U.S. Air Force during the end of World War II. He then attended Anderson (Ind.) College and wanted to be a teacher. But Armco Steel offered him more money and he retired from the accounting department after 40 years, Wilson said.
He is survived by his daughters, Diane (Stu) Wilson of Monroe and Jane (Doug) Blazer of Middletown; grandson, Adam (Anne) Wilson of Monroe; brother-in-law, Dynzel (Barb) Hatfield of Middletown; and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Thursday at Wilson-Schramm-Spaulding Funeral Home, 3805 Roosevelt Blvd., Middletown. Funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Friday and interment will be private.
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