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Lila was born on August 12, 1930 in New York City of Irish parents, William Patrick Finlay and Ellen Barry Finlay. Both her mother and father came from County Cork, Ireland. When she was 7 years old, the family decided to return to Ireland rejoining other family. They lived in Belfast and Bangor, in Northern Ireland for a year, then moved to England and settled in Feltham Middlesex, 15 miles outside of London, where her father worked for Vickers Armstrong, an aircraft company. When World War II started and the bombs got too close, they moved north to the seaside town of Blackpool, Lancashire. Once again her father got secured a good job at an atomic facility. Lila's primary and secondary education were completed in New York, Ireland, but mostly in England, where she attended a Catholic Girls School at Layton Hill run by Nuns of the order of the Holy Child of Jesus. There is a sister school "Mayfield" in Pasadena, California. She completed her education and received the English School Leaving Certificate at 17 years of age. Lila returned to New York alone, as her parents were not able to get a visa to return to the U.S.A. She lived with her aunt and worked in New York. Finally her parents were able to leave England and settled in Windsor, Canada. Lila joined her parents and soon the whole family moved to Detroit. In 1951 they all moved to Glendale, California. Lila worked for the Bank of America in downtown Los Angeles, then moved to Security First National Bank. While in Glendale, at the Catholic Youth Organization of Holy Family Catholic Church, she met Reinaldo, a student at the California Institute of Technology. After a long courtship and engagement she married Reinaldo a week after he graduated from Caltech. Six months later, Reinaldo was drafted into the U.S. Army at the tail end of the Korean Conflict. A year later she joined Reinaldo, with their first born son, Stephen, at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland where he was stationed as a Scientific & Professional Personnel with the Army. After his discharge from the Army, they moved back to Southern California and settled in Baldwin Park. In 1963, the whole family, Lila, Reinaldo, Stephen, Paul and Craig moved to the Palos Verdes Peninsula. When Craig was in 3rd Grade, Lila began the long and difficult process of obtaining her college education while raising a family. Lila received her BA in Home Economics, and her Masters Degree in Clothing and Textiles from Cal State University, Long Beach. She earned her California Teachers Credentials (High School & College) and taught school in Long Beach, Torrance and Palos Verdes for many years. While still doing her graduate studies, she was the first Volunteer Textile Curator for The Banning Museum before it was open to the Public. She was a member of the American Association of University Women and was instrumental in organizing their 21st Silver Anniversary Celebration. She was an active member of the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts Textile Group, the Costume Society of America, the Costume Council, the Palos Verdes Art Center (Exhibition Committee, The Associates), and the Textile Association of America, amongst other organizations. Lila continued her education to become a Certified Household Appraiser and started an appraisal business. She was an avid collector of Antiques (Victorian Period) and a member of the Centinela Antiquer's Club. Lila is survived by her husband Reinaldo, her two sons (Stephen and Paul), her granddaughter (Brianna) two grandsons (Sean and Brett) and a great granddaughter (Addison). Her youngest son Craig was killed in a car accident in 1980 at age 20. A Memorial Mass will be held at Saint John Fisher Catholic Church on Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. The church is located at 5448 Crest Road in Rancho Palos Verdes 90275, at the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard. A great passion of Lila's was the care and rescue of dogs and other domesticated animals. In lieu of flowers, please honor her work in this area with a generous donation to the SPCA of Los Angeles at http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/LilaFinlayGutierrez/paulgutierrezsfundraisingpage.
A.M. Gamby - Lomita
25001 Narbonne Avenue Lomita, CA 90717
Published in Daily Breeze on Aug. 28, 2013