Thomas Edward Finegan (1941 - 2018)

Obituary
14 entries | 1 photo
  • "Tom was a co-worker of my husband's and mine at MYC. We..."
    - Barb Abercrombie
  • "Mr. Finegan was one of my favorite customers at the bank...."
    - Anna
  • "I' like to thank Tom for all he did towards the carvers in..."
    - Gloria Angi
  • "Another fine Ivory dealer gone. Going all too fast."
    - EZ Marchant
  • "mr Finegan as we called him! was very instrumental and..."
    - frank anderson
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Thomas Edward Finegan died on Jan. 5, 2018, at Providence Alaska Medical Center, with his wife Nina by his side. He was born on May 20, 1941, in Fox Chase, Pa., where he spent his early years.
Drawn by a sense of adventure and a love of the outdoors, he moved to Alaska as a 19-year-old, and found the perfect match for his personality. Tom worked as a young man with the BLM, and on oil and gas seismic crews which led to him discovering bush Alaska. So began a love that lasted throughout his life.
In between summer jobs, he squeezed in time to earn a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University, completed in 1967. He was happiest when he returned to Alaska, where he met the woman who would become his life long best friend and wife, Nina, in Anchorage that same year. He was an avid outdoorsman, spending many years hunting moose and roaming Alaska's wilderness with his dear friend, George Buhite. Tom enjoyed cross-country skiing and rollerblading. He could often be seen traversing the path from his Anchorage home to Eagle River, his ski poles flying forward and back, a regular speed demon.
Tom realized that work in the bush was a hardship in marriage so accepted an opportunity to work with teenagers at the then newly opened McLaughlin Youth Center in 1968. This was another perfect match for Tom, who was able to connect with even the most difficult or troubled teen. In 1991, Tom was recognized as the Youth Counselor of the Year for his exemplary service to Alaska's families, children and youth. After his retirement, it was a very common occurrence to see Tom approached by former MYC residents, all uniformly happy to see him and report to "Mr. Finegan" their accomplishments.
Tom developed an interest in Alaska Native art, particularly carved ivory, and was well known in both the Bush and Alaska's urban centers as one of the state's foremost ivory collectors and dealers. He was well respected among the Alaska Native carving communities, where he was well known for his fair dealings and support of carvers' art, their families and their community.
Tom was an avid organic gardener and enjoyed sharing the bounty of his garden with friends and neighbors. His knowledge of birds and his love of bird-watching was well known, and neighbors often brought injured birds to Tom for care and feeding.
Tom was adept at making others feel at ease. A grand smile, sparkling blue eyes and a humorous comment or story were his entry into conversations with friends and strangers alike. He was renowned for giving his friends creative nicknames as well as re-imagining Far Side cartoons for anyone who he felt needed a boost or laugh.
He lived his life on his own terms, almost until the very end. He will be missed and remembered by more people that he could ever imagine. Tom is survived by his wife of nearly five decades, Nina; his brother Edward, of New York; and friends, colleagues and former MYC residents too numerous to count. A celebration of life will be held at a future date.
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Kehl's Legacy Funeral Home
11621 Old Seward Highway
Anchorage, AK 99515
(907) 344-1497
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Published in Anchorage Daily News on Jan. 19, 2018