Edward ëReedí Finlay Jr., 72, of Hendersonville, N.C., died Saturday, May 26, 2012 after an unexpected illness, complicated by Parkinsonís disease. Known to many as ëBig Rí, he was a husband, father, friend, peripatetic peregrinator, teacher and coach.
Born in Columbia, S.C., Finlay graduated from Christ School and The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. He earned a masterís degree in English from the University of South Carolina and pursued doctoral studies at the University of Georgia. Finlay was an avid learner of foreign languages and studied abroad in Italy, France, Spain and Germany throughout his lifetime.
Finlay was an English teacher for 40 years, having held positions at Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, Va., The Lovett School in Atlanta, Ga., and Christ School in Arden, N.C. He retired from teaching in 2006. In addition to teaching, Finlay coached track and cross-country teams at his respective schools during his tenure. He led Christ School to an NCISAA state championship in track and field in 1990. Upon his retirement he assisted with coaching runners at Hendersonville High School. For many years he served as a high school basketball official with associations in North Carolina and Virginia.
In addition to teaching and coaching, Finlay had a passion for travel. He and his wife Lucretia visited Europe countless times, often leading groups of students and adults on tours of both celebrated and undiscovered locales. Finlay led student tours to Jackson Hole, Wyo. and New York City, as well as to France and Spain for a partial recreation of Jake Barnesí travels in Ernest Hemingwayís The Sun Also Rises, which featured running with the bulls in Pamplona. He was an opera enthusiast and visited opera houses abroad and in the U.S. and led tours to opera performances. Over the years, Sanpolo, Italy became a favorite destination. Finlay also had a love for the American West, where he spent several family vacations. In February, he and his wife spent six weeks on Oahu, HI.
Finlay was a member of St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church in Flat Rock where he taught youth Sunday school and led education trips, served on the vestry and participated in the annual Christmas pageant.
Finlay was preceded in death by his parents Edward Reed Finlay Sr. and Claudia Knowlton Finlay.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Lucretia deLoach Finlay; son Edward Reed Finlay III and his wife Rebecca Ann Huntington and their son, Kershaw Cache Finlay of Jackson, Wyo.; daughter Lucretia Finlay Stargell and her husband James Bishop Stargell and their daughters Stenna Reed Stargell and Emily Edwards Grey Stargell of Bryson City, N.C.; son Douglas Knowlton Finlay, and his wife Lori Brown Finlay and their children Claudia Pearson Finlay and Douglas Reed Finlay of Chattanooga, Tenn.; also a sister Caroline Finlay Meyer and her husband D. Swing Meyer of Columbia, S.C.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 2, at St. John in the Wilderness. The Rev. John Morton will officiate. The family will receive friends in the parish hall immediately following the service.
Memorials may be made to the Boys & Girls Club of Henderson County, P.O. Box 1460, Hendersonville, N.C. 28793 or the Youth Sunday School at St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church, 1905 Greenville Highway, P.O. Box 185, Flat Rock, N.C. 28731.
Big R had an enormous influence in shaping the trajectory of my life while i attended Christ School. He gave a lot, and then some more. An incredible loving human being worthy of deep veneration.
Dear Lucretia, Lucretia and Reed,
My mother learned from Ross Ingersol (her minister) that Reed had passed away and she wrote to tell me only yesterday. I am so very sorry for your loss and want to send you my warmest wishes at this sad time. I realise that so much time has passed since seeing one another, but it has not paled the thoughts of happy times that I spent with you all. Sent with love,
Liz Gardner O’Sullivan
Reid Findley was a tremendous influnce in my spn’s life. He will be missed and always remembered with love.
Big R, you’re missed. When I think of my youth, I can’t remember Christ School without thinking of Reed. He was a positive infuence for me and many other young people.
Lucretia, sorry I cannot be there today, but I had some minor surgery yesterday which keeps me at home. My thoughts and prayers are with you and all of your family. Reed certainly had a positive impact on so many people and will certainly be missed.
Dear Lucretia, Cretia, Reed & Douglas:
We were so sorry to learn of Reed’s passing. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen you. Reed was one of those you thought would live forever. I remember he always had a big smile and a good story about a foreign trip. He will be missed by many.
We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.
Me and my wife and my daughter are praying for you i will miss him he was a friend to me when he was at ves and he also had a kind word for me everytime he saw me in the halls he will be missed
You have my deepest sympathy in the loss of your husband. May God’s arms surround you and give you peace. Sincerely,
Pardee Home Care
I met Reed while I was the technician who did the pest service for yalls home. I am very sorry to hear of his passing.
My thoughts are with all of you at this difficult time. Tom