Fred Finkel, well known jeweler, goldsmith/silversmith in Marblehead died Oct 17 from injuries sustained after a motorcycle accident several days earlier. He was 64. He was born and raised in Meriden Ct, son of Faye and Jack Finkel and graduated in 1966 from Platt High School. While attending Brandeis University, he developed an interest in metals and gems and took jewelry-making courses at night while on his way to graduating in 1972, majoring in Music. After college he apprenticed with a jeweler in Cambridge Massachusetts, learning his craft in the traditional style of apprenticeship. In 1976 he moved to Marblehead , Ma. where he opened his shop. Thirty-six years later, he was a renowned and beloved craftsman not only working in silver and gold but also in bone, ivory, and shell. He was one of a small handful of craftsmen who was trusted by local clergy to create or repair religious ceremonial pieces and ornaments, and was sought after by museum directors to repair priceless one of a kind silver pieces, some fashioned more than two hundred years ago by Paul Revere. All his pieces were done by hand using techniques that are centuries old. For the past 20 years he has expanded his craft to include repair of antique walking sticks, a skill requiring intricate, precise, painstaking detail work. Fred studied classical violin since middle school, and continued to play violin until the end of his life. He was a proficient classical violinist, but his passion was improvising on the 'fiddle' in the genre of traditional American and Northern European music. He played fiddle with 'the boys' who accompanied him on guitar and banjo almost without fail every Tuesday night for several years. He also dabbled with mandolin, washtub bass and was unbeatable on spoons. Fred leaves loyal and loving friends who have been close for over forty years, newer North Shore friends from the past thirty years, and countless customers who cherished his creations and his repair work. He rescued a lot of people from the shame and embarrassment of dropping heirloom silverware into the sink grinder. Above all, Fred leaves the children he adored, Serena, 23, and Dario 28 both of Marblehead and now three grandchildren, Jordan, Michael, and Brooklyn Whether you knew Fred Finkel for forty seven years or forty seven minutes, you were keenly aware that your life had been blessed by meeting such an extraordinary, warm, honest, curious, talented, crazy-funny, and genuinely caring person. Among the people we call one of a kind he was truly one of a kind.
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Published in The Marblehead Reporter from October 23 to October 30, 2012