James Frederick Finton

July 23, 2013

By Contributor

Our beloved James (Jimmy) Frederick Finton went home to be with the Lord on Monday, June 24 at 5 p.m. He passed away peacefully (with a bit of an Irish smile on his face) at his home in Covina, Calif. His wife of 24 years, Marion, was with him.

James Frederick Finton

James Frederick Finton

An Irish Wake was celebrated immediately after passage. Present on Skype from Issaquah was his sister Claire Loranger and Claire’s granddaughter Jody Loranger; also from Anaconda, Mont., was Claire’s and Jim’s cousin Rosemary Gross. In immediate presence was his wife Marion; his daughter Gail and her husband Kenny; his son Michael and his wife Jacci, their children-Emma, Amme and Ezra (some of Papa’s garden of grandchildren); and Sister Sean Patrice, his youngest sister. Hymns were sung; prayers were invoked and the celebration ended with “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” and other Irish tunes.

He was born in Springfield, Mass., on Dec. 8, 1931. His parents were John Joseph and Dorothy Margaret Finton.

At an early age, he and his sister Claire traveled to Anaconda, Mont., to their grandmother Grace Davidson. Their older siblings, Patricia and John traveled there earlier. Jimmy and his sisters and brother grew up successfully under their grandmother’s watchful, devout Catholic eyes and heart.

Jimmy attended Anaconda High School, and went on to Carroll College in Helena, Mont. At the time he was to be a sophomore at Carroll, the military intervened, looking for a few good men (this was during the Korean Operations). Jim immediately joined the Marines. He spent two years in Korea; he was a sergeant when he mustered out, honorably discharged. He received his service medals and was a sharpshooter. Semper Fi!

Upon his return from service, Jim returned to Carroll and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in education. He married Marian A. Reynolds and had two children — Gail Maureen Finton in 1956 and Michael James Finton in 1958. He was later divorced.

He taught history at Willard Junior High School in Santa Ana, Calif., for 16 years. While he taught, he coached, and played basketball into his early 60s. Upon his retirement from teaching, he became involved in property management. He managed an RV resort in Arizona, and Vacationland at Disneyland, as well as other properties, including apartments and mobile home parks. He usually held several jobs at a time, and was always productive, efficient and a genius working with people.

In 1989, he married Marion Olender, his best friend, and remained happily married for the rest of his life.

He loved golfing, especially watching Tiger Woods; the Tour de France; college football; and the Seattle Mariners.

After residing in Issaquah for 18 years, he and his wife returned to Southern California to be near their children and grandchildren.

Jim was a devoted Catholic, who went to Mass every morning with his grandmother as a child. He was an altar boy, and sang in the choir (he had a great voice). Through the years he found much comfort in his God and in his church. He loved the Lord and his family with all of his heart.

Jimmy suffered from numerous maladies, including prostate cancer, kidney and liver problems, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. He fought awesomely, acquiescing to the knowledge that he was having trouble communicating and forming cogent thoughts.

He truly was a remarkable man, always putting everyone else first. His love for his family, his patience and ability to put everyone at ease was a gift to all who knew him. No one was a stranger to Jim and he delighted in helping people. He was fun-loving, adventurous and one of the most positive people who has ever walked this earth. He was also a great encourager and had a way of making you see that anything is possible if you work hard, believe in yourself and just do the right thing.

He will have a private military honors burial of his cremated remains as soon this can be processed through the national cemetery scheduling office. A memorial Mass will be held in Los Angeles with a celebration of life ensuing as soon as it is possible to allow for those who wish to attend, in sync with the pastor’s permission. Further details to follow.

Jim is survived by his wife Marion, his daughter Gail (Kenny), his son Michael (Jacci), his sister Claire (Ed), his youngest sister Sr. Sean Patrice; grandchildren Kristin, Ryan, Daniel, Sarah, Rachael, Nicole, Emma, Amme and Ezra; stepdaughter Lynn (Mike) and stepson Will; step-grandchildren Christie, Kevin, Kyle, Donovan and Patrick; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He is also survived by his Aunt Nan, who will be 101 years old in September.

He was predeceased by his brother John Philip and sister Patricia Ann.

We miss him. He will be in our hearts forever and we know we will see him again.

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