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© Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise
Submitted by: Ann Weber

Herschel Dean Finney

October 18, 1918 ~ July 3, 2011

Long-time Bartlesville resident Herschel D. Finney passed away Sunday, July 3, at Jane Phillips Medical Center following a brief illness. His death at 92 came only three weeks after he and his beloved wife, Helen, celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary in the company of their daughters Fran and Mary Lynn.

Herschel Finney was born October 18, 1918, in Casey, Illinois, the second of three children of Clifford Finney and Laura Nelle Myers Finney. He attended public schools in Perryton, Texas, and received his bachelor's degree in engineering from Texas Technological University in 1941. Following graduation he went to work as an engineer for Phillips Petroleum in Borger, Texas, where he met Helen L. Brown, also employed at Phillips. Helen and Herschel were married in Borger on June 13, 1943. Two days later young couple moved to Bartlesville, where their two daughters were born, Frances (Fran) in 1947 and Mary Lynn in 1952.

Herschel pursued his profession as a mechanical engineer for almost 44 years, retiring in 1983. Work on behalf of the company took him to Venezuela, China, the United Kingdom and Norway, where he was part of the team that worked on the Ekofisk platform project. He loved his work for the engineering challenges it brought and he enjoyed the opportunities that travel gave him to indulge his limitless curiosity about other peoples and places.

A man of strong but nonjudgmental Christian faith, Herschel also believed that people should work together to improve their communities and the lives of the less fortunate. He was an active member of the First United Methodist Church of Bartlesville, where he was still scheduled to teach a senior Sunday School class on the day he died. Over the years he was active in several civic and social organizations, including Philresters (past president), the Hillcrest Country Club, Elks Club, and Bartlesville Sportsmen's Club. Since his retirement he especially enjoyed his 63-year association with the Downtown Lions Club; of particular interest was helping the Lions raise money to support their social programs, and he could always be counted on to help organize the Club's annual pancake breakfast.

Herschel also loved the outdoors. He was for many years an avid bird hunter, with a series of faithful dogs, as well as a fisherman, but those activities were only excuses to get out and enjoy the natural world, which he approached with a mixture of enthusiasm, curiosity and reverence. Even after he could no longer hunt he enjoyed trips to nature reserves and wildlife habitat and through the internet shared with others photographs of wildlife, places and even galaxies that excited his interest. He loved gardening, which he pursued to the end of his life.

But the center of Herschel's life was his family, and nothing gave him more pleasure than time spent with Helen and his daughters. Among the cherished family memories are the road trips to explore Colorado and the national parks of the West, camping gear strapped to the top of the car. 

Herschel's brother Marshall and sister Rachel preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife, Helen L., of Bartlesville; daughter Fran Finney, and her husband, Vawter (Buck) Parker, of San Francisco; daughter Mary Lynn Finney, of Dallas; brother-in-law and friend O.D. Brown, Arlington, Texas; and numerous nieces and nephews. 

A memorial service will be held Wednesday, July 6, at 2:00 pm at First United Methodist Church, 500 S. Johnstone in Bartlesville. Those desiring to do so may honor Herschel by donating to the First United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 1136, Bartlesville, OK 74005; to Downtown Lions Club, P.O. Box 1301, Bartlesville, OK 74006; or to a charity of their choice.

Cremation arrangements were under the direction of the Stumpff Funeral Home & Cremation.  

Published in Examiner-Enterprise from July 5 to Aug. 5, 2011  

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