BARNWELL, S.C. - Robert Hance Finley, Sr. of Barnwell, SC, passed away February 19, 2015. Robert was born in Anderson, SC, on February 29th, 1936, the son of Willie Hance and Beatrice Kay Finley of Mountville, S.C. Mr. Finley graduated from USC in 1958 with a BS in Physics. He was a member of Sigma Xi, Sigma Pi Sigma, Kappa Sigma and the Navy ROTC. He served as Engineering Officer on the USS Jack W. Wilke, DE-800, the USS Tweedy, DE-532, and as Chief Engineering Officer the USS Richard E. Byrd, DDG-800. He received an MS in Physics at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, in 1963. He worked at Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., where he was Project Construction Officer for the USS John F. Kennedy, CV-67 and took part in the first-ever reactor refueling of the USS Enterprise, CVN-65. He was in the Naval Reserve in Augusta and Charleston and retired as Commanding Officer of the Headquarters Unit at the Charleston Naval Weapons Station, with the rank of Captain. He worked in Reactor Technology for DuPont at the Savannah River Plant from 1967 to 1989. He had a major role programming the first-ever Reactor Safety Computer system and later was head of the L-area Restart Team. From 1989 to 1996, Mr. Finley was Operations Manager over three reactors for Westinghouse and was tasked with designing a new production reactor type. In 1972 he served as chairman of the Barnwell County Republican Party. Mr. Finley was the Scoutmaster for Troop 392 in Barnwell, SC, and a member of the First Baptist Church of Barnwell. Married to his wife, Avis Gahagan Finley, for fifty-seven years, they have two children, Robert H. Jr. (Belinda Creighton) and A. Kathleen Flaherty (Kevin J. Flaherty), and three grandchildren, Erin K. Wooten, R. Hance Finley III, and Gretchen Jo Finley. Mr. Finley had one sister, Rebecca K. Finley Snyder (Charles Snyder), nieces and nephews. Funeral Services will be held on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 2:00PM in Mole Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Furman Buchanan officiating. Burial will follow with military honors at Barnwell County Memorial Cemetery by the airport. The family will receive friends from 12:30 until time of service at the funeral home. The family respectfully requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the Boy Scouts of America or the
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Mole Funeral Home
9399 Patterson Street
Barnwell, SC 29812
Published in The Augusta Chronicle on Feb. 23, 2015