Thomas E. Finnerty, Jr. (1918 - 2015)

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A funeral service celebrating the life of Thomas "Tom" Edward Finnerty, Jr., 96, was held at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25, at West Des Moines Christian Church, located at 4501 Mills Civic Parkway. Private committal services were held at Resthaven Cemetery in West Des Moines.
Tom was born on July 2, 1918 to Thomas and Florence (Hunter) Finnerty on a farm in Audubon County and died peacefully at his home in Clive, on March 23, 2015. He graduated from Exira High School in 1935 and worked as the Deputy County Auditor for Audubon County from 1939-1941. Tom served proudly in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1946 as a Chief Warrant Officer in WWII with the 197th Ordnance Battalion in the European theater. After the war, he returned to Iowa and went to work for Northwestern Bell Telephone Co. in 1946 where he worked until his retirement in 1978. He was a lifelong member of the Masonic Lodge in Exira – Exodus 342.
On June 19, 1949, Tom married Lucille Getz. They moved to Des Moines in 1954 and West Des Moines in 1961 and raised four children there: Craig, Cheryl, Scott and Diane.
Tom had many hobbies but, most of all, he loved being on his acreage – tending a large vegetable garden, feeding the birds, riding his tractors, caring for the land. He loved fishing with his friends in Minnesota and spending time with his family. He was very proud of his Irish heritage and enjoyed travelling to Ireland with his children for his 80th birthday. Tom was a woodworker and toy builder. His family remembers him in his woodworking shop and garage, and the toys and objects he would make out of wood salvaged from construction sites. He was recycling before recycling was popular. Tom loved watching his grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up and he was so proud of them all. He was a generous and caring man and could always be counted on to help a friend, a family member, or a neighbor in need. He was beloved to many and lived his life seeing the good in everyone.
He is survived and lovingly remembered by his children: Cheryl (Paul) Oderkirk of West Des Moines, Scott (Diana) Finnerty of Ankeny and Diane (Jill Jack) Finnerty of Iowa City; grandchildren: Mathew Pinckney, Meredith (Brian) Scott, Brenna Finnerty, Craig Finnerty, Allison Finnerty and Jennifer Noriega; great-grandchildren: Gabriel, Ava, Jorge, Ellis, and twins being born this week; sister, Faye (Donald) Straight; many nieces and nephews; and special friend, Norma Warner. Tom was preceded in death by his wife, Lucille; son, Craig; parents; and four brothers: Jerry, Dean, Merrill and Robert Finnerty.
The family wishes to thank the skilled and compassionate staff at The Woodlands for caring so lovingly and so well for Tom over the past few years and especially over the last few days. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to West Des Moines Christian Church.
The Iles Westover Chapel in Des Moines assisted the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be left at

Published in AUDUBON COUNTY ADVOCATE JOURNAL from Mar. 27 to Apr. 3, 2015
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