Joseph B. Finan, born December 23, 1931, to John A. Finan and M. Catharine (Reynolds) Finan in Zanesville, graduated from St. Thomas High School in 1949. Upon graduation from The University of Notre Dame in 1953, he joined the U.S. Army and served in Formosa (Taiwan) as a member of the Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) to the Nationalist Chinese Army of Chang Kai Chek.
During his military service and subsequent international travels, Joe penned many a letter to the love of his life, Marlene Maxwell. These letters—and others addressed to Joe’s mother—are saved at their home to this day, and reveal his deep love and commitment to Marlene. Upon his return to Ohio, Joe’s courtship of Marlene accelerated, and they married on May 18, 1958. Their 63 years of marriage were remarkable and a blessing for the young family that soon followed.
Joe began his business career in the Export Department of Columbus Coated Fabrics, subsequently purchased by Borden, Inc and retired from Borden Chemical Division 40 years later as Director of Worldwide Chemical Purchasing.
A Roman Catholic and true Hispanophile, after spending time in Madrid, Spain in his 20s, Joe was active in the formation of the Cursillo Movement (Cum Christo) in Columbus in the 60’s. During his retirement and working with the late Monsignor David Sorohan, he established and grew the Hispanic community (Cristo Rey) at Christ the King Parish, including the integration of Hispanic children into what is now All Saints Academy.
A longtime resident of Bexley and then Eastmoor, Joe was an active member of St. Catharine’s Parish, the old University Club, The Athletic Club of Columbus, The 41 Club and The Columbus Sierra Club. With his office next door to St. Joseph Cathedral, Joe was a “pinch-hitter” for four decades as a lector/server at the 12-noon weekday Mass.
The last surviving of five children, he was predeceased by his brothers Patrick, Robert, Richard and his sister Margaret (Peggy) Immel. Joe is survived by his wife Marlene of 63 years and their five children: Patrick (Janis) Memphis, TN; Margaret (Luis Cervera – deceased), Madrid, Spain; Matthew (Kathleen), Pittsburgh, PA; Leticia (Peter) Overholt, Highland Park, IL; and Amy (Craig Snedeker), Bethesda, MD. They have eight grandchildren and 15 nieces and nephews.
Joe’s death marks the passing of the elder Finan title to family matriarch and his much beloved first cousin, Barbara Finan. A distinguished academic with a Doctor of Philosophy and Theology, Barb is also keeper of Finan family history. Joe so enjoyed their conversations about Zanesville friends, family history, the Church, and even…well, sometimes…he and Barb’s differing politics. Barb’s regular presence and love brought Joe and Marlene great joy during these last many years.
The family is extremely grateful to several former and current caregivers who enabled Joe and Marlene to remain together in their home. Their talents, teamwork, commitment and affection made all the difference to Joe and Marlene and their children, all living outside of Ohio. Debbie Campbell, Diane Carroll, Dee Diamond, Maggie Lyons, Renee Riley, Susan Thompson and Chevelle Williams are angels that visited Joe’s life here on earth and are a blessing to our family; may they be blessed in return. And a very special thank you to Debbie, the lead angel, for her kindness and generous spirit.
Friends may call on Marlene and the five Finan children and their families on Friday, August 20, 4-7 p.m. at the Egan-Ryan Funeral Home, 403 E. Broad St. Mass of Christian Burial will be Saturday, August 21, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Catharine Church, 500 S. Gould Rd, with a luncheon to follow. Burial follows at 2:00 pm at St. Mary Church - Mattingly Settlement, 6280 St Marys Road, Nashport, Ohio.
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