James Howard Finney, April 29, 1935 - January 14, 2020. On April 29, 1935, James Howard Finney was born in Detroit, Michigan. Welcomed to the world by proud and loving parents, Spencer F. Finney and Genevieve Davis Finney, Jim, aka “Big Dog” would live a life of joy, gratitude and one of personal distinction. His life would include decades of a changing America, and his personality and open heart would relish them all. He would bear witness to World War II from a personal lens of his father’s esteemed military career. His early years would include moving from Michigan to other places. He would fondly recall living at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California as a child, and the many pranks he initiated. His nanny and his dog Joker would often reap the benefits of his humor, as his parents would soon prepare him for boarding school. Upon graduation, Jim would solidify his Michigan roots as he attended Wayne State University. He earned his Bachelor of Science in 1957, and his J.D in 1960. As a young adult, he played semi-professional hockey for a Canadian team. His father eventually gave him advice, either play hockey or practice law. To the benefit of countless clients, he chose law. He practiced the art and passion of law for fifty years in the Wayne and Macomb County area. Jim served as a Captain in the Air Force, stationed for a time in Texas. Perhaps he did not realize at the time Texas would become his roots as well. Throughout his life he enjoyed tennis, and certainly golf. Until the last several years when health did not permit, golf was his personal and beloved hobby. In 1980 his life would change once again with meeting the vivacious and beautiful red haired Texan, Brenda Eugenia Wright. Married on February 14th, 1981, they would share a marriage of thirty-nine years. Brenda and Jim would carve their marriage as one of trust, love and support of one another. Together they enjoyed traveling, good food and the best table, their Clinton Township home, as well as the Houston home. Jim knew and embraced the idea of eventually relocating to Houston as he desired to always please and honor Brenda. His preparations began as early as 1988, when he was admitted to the Texas Bar. Jim was a beloved member of his extended Texas family, and his frequent visits fostered loving relationships as a son-in-law, brother-in-law and uncle. His presence was felt always. As retirement neared, plans were made to close the Michigan home and practice and return together to Houston. Life is not predictable and the following years became a challenge. Jim began to fight the challenges of cognitive disease. Eventually his court room voice and boisterous laugh would weaken and become quiet. His communication would remain with his eyes and expressions. He was aware he had a new voice, stronger than his own. His voice, his unyielding and dedicated advocate, no matter how exhausted or challenged by those caring for him in the medical arena, was his beloved Brenda. The true meaning of marriage, for better or worse, was exemplified every single day of his illness. With him at his last breath of this world, Jim knew he was cared for and loved. He knew his wedding vows were true. Pre-deceased by parents Spencer and Genevieve Finney, mother and father-in-law, Stanley and Erin Wright, brothers-in-law Stanley Dalton Wright, and R. Kerry McSwain. Jim is survived by his beloved wife Brenda, sister-in-law Elaine McSwain, niece Bonnie Shannon Inamdar and husband Amay, and nephew Patrick Kerry McSwain. He is also survived by great niece Erin Inamdar, and great nephews Eamon and Easton Inamdar. Private interment will be at Woodlawn Cemetery, Houston, Texas. His memory will be loved and honored.
Published in The Macomb Daily from Jan. 16 to Jan. 19, 2020.