Wilma E. Finlay
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June 11, 1912 - November 12, 2012
KODIAK, AK - Wilma Finlay died on Monday, November 12th at Providence Hospital in Kodiak Alaska. She was 100 years old.
Wilma was born June 11, 1912 in Kooskia, Idaho to John Franklin Brown and Pearl Evelyn Makinster. She was the first daughter and fourth child of ten children born to the couple. As a child Wilma traveled from Idaho to Pennsylvania and back to California and Oregon with her family as a migrant worker. At the age of 18 she married Fred Wintermantel in Oregon and began building their own farm. At the age of 19 Wilma had a baby girl, Betty. Wilma became a widow at the age of 20 when Fred succumbed to a flu epidemic after being ill for only two weeks. Wilma worked hard to survive and provide for her baby. Five years passed and on May 18, 1938 she married Lawrence Finlay, a local farmer who raised mink and fox. They married in Talbot, Oregon and remained married for 56 years until Lawrence's death in 1994. During the time in Oregon they added two more boys, David and Dale to the family.
Wilma always felt that the LORD had been with her and that she always had known God, but when her husband, Lawrence, went forward in a Sunday evening service to declare his decision for Christ that he had made 2 weeks earlier, she went forward with him and dedicated her life to the LORD. This was under the ministry of the Christian and Missionary Alliance church pastor, Rev. Rogers R. Irwin, at the Talbot Community Church.
In 1962 Wilma and Lawrence moved to Alaska to homestead in the Matanuska Valley to raise potatoes. After a year they moved to Homer to fish crab and to Kodiak a year later. Wilma took on many jobs in Kodiak including town seamstress, director of activities for the Kodiak Senior Center, church secretary at Kodiak Bible Chapel and boarding high school students from Kodiak Island villages. She was involved in many volunteer activities such as 4-H, and also helped to establish the first Christian Women's Club in Kodiak. She loved to fish the road system in Kodiak during the silver salmon run. Wilma was also a 20-year survivor of breast cancer. To Wilma her family was her priority. She loved cooking, sewing, crocheting, reading, entertaining, playing with her grandchildren and a good game of Scrabble.
Wilma Finlay was many things to many people - a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, teacher, confidant, inspiration, leader. Whatever she did, she did with great strength, gusto, laughter and love. Wilma stated that she "never wanted to be bored, but always wanted to keep busy." And that may be the secret of her longevity for 100 years.
She is survived by her sister Naomi Hill, Albany, Oregon; Children: Betty (Willie) Heinrichs, Puyallup, Washington, David (Freda) Finlay, Eagle River Alaska, Dale (Jan) Finlay, Kodiak, Alaska; grandchildren: Robin (Barb) Heinrichs, Roy, Washington, Kim (Brad) Goetz, Puyallup, Washington, Randy (Sangetta) Heinrichs, Riverbank, California, Todd (Kara) Heinrichs, Fife, Washington; great grandchildren: Katrina (Marcus) Stewart, Kodiak, Alaska, John (Sheridan) Heinrichs, North Pole, Alaska, Kim Heinrichs, Anchorage, Alaska, Caleb Heinrichs, Kodiak, Alaska, Kristin (Brian) Jones, Kent, Washington, Laurel (Billy) Donkervoet, Washington, Amanda Heinrichs, Riverbank, California, Emma Heinrichs, Riverbank, California, Gabriel Heinrichs, Fife, Washington, Anneleise Heinrichs, Fife, Washington; great-great grandchildren: Jonah Stewart, Kodiak, Alaska, Mia Stewart, Kodiak, Alaska, Kayla Heinrichs, North Pole, Alaska, Shawn Heinrichs, North Pole, Alaska, Ethan Heinrichs, North Pole, Alaska, Johnny Heinrichs, Kodiak, Alaska, Sierra Jones, Kent, Washington, Jayce Jones, Kent, Washington, Jacoby Jones, Kent, Washington, Peter Donkervoet, Washington; and many nieces and nephews and beloved friends.
A funeral service for Wilma was held on Sunday, November 18, 2012 at the Kodiak Bible Chapel in Kodiak, Alaska, followed by a repast.
The interment of Wilma Finlay's earthly remains will be 11am on Saturday, November 24, 2012 at the Jefferson Cemetery in Jefferson, Oregon. Arrangements made by Howell-Edwards-Doerksen with Rigdon-Ransom Funeral Directors.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to The Gideon's International at: The Gideons International, PO Box 140800, Nashville, TN 37214 or online at www.gideons.org/HowYouCanHelp/Give.
Published in StatesmanJournal on Nov. 21, 2012