Ernest J. "Doc" Finocchio
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FINOCCHIO, ERNEST J. "DOC"
77, passed away peacefully on October 26, 2020 at Miriam Hospital. He was the beloved husband of Marie (LaRocca) Finocchio for 54 years and the proud father of Tim Finocchio and his wife Jane (Bowker). He is survived by his mother, Pauline (Manzi) Finocchio and was preceded in death by his father, Ernest. J. Finocchio. In addition, he leaves his sister, Paula Pontarelli and her husband Frank, brother-in-law John LaRocca, and brother-in-law Ronald LaRocca and his wife Cathy. He is also survived by his uncle John Manzi and his wife Kathy, aunt Marie Santoro, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends, as well as his beloved dog Molly.
Dr. Finocchio was a graduate of Cranston High School class of 1961. He then attended Texas A&M University for two years before transferring to Kansas State University where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He earned a Bachelor of Science in 1966, followed by a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1968. He went on to serve the first ever internship in Equine Medicine and Surgery offered at Kansas State University where he instructed undergraduate veterinary students, concentrating in Equine surgery. He was involved in numerous research projects that led to over twenty professional publications.
In 1969, Dr. Finocchio established the New England Horse Care Center, the first ever Equine hospital in the state of Rhode Island. His practice quickly grew, adding other associates as they also served clients in nearby Connecticut and Massachusetts offering 24-hour emergency coverage.
Dr. Finocchio was a guest lecturer at numerous horse clubs, universities and the American Association of Equity Practitioners National Convention in 1973, 1985, and 1989. He continued to publish in lay journals including the Yankee Pedlar, Equus Magazine and the Blood Horse Magazine.
He was a member of the AVMA, AAEP and RIVMA serving as its president in 1977. Dr. Finocchio served on many advisory boards including Equus Magazine, Hooved Animals Humane Society Advisory Board to Tufts University referring Veterinaries and the R.I. Disaster Preparedness Committee.
In 1981 he received the FT Moses Humane Award for saving the life of a horse that fell into a well at personal risk to himself.
In addition to his veterinary practice Dr. Finocchio was involved in breeding thoroughbred horses and owned horses that raced in the New England area.
After serving for many years as a member of the RISPCA board of directors, Dr. Finocchio became its 10th President/Director in 2002. He became a tireless and dedicated crusader for animal welfare. While at the RISPCA, he successfully advocated for significant enhancements to Rhode Island's animal welfare laws all while continuing to be directly connected with diverse constituencies served by the society.
He instituted many firsts at the RISPCA including fund raisers, a volunteer program and newsletter, "Happy Tails to All", almost free rabies clinic and numerous other programs. One of his proudest moments was in the fall of 2005 when he collected, delivered and distributed 70 tons of supplies collected by the RISPCA to aid the Northwest Louisiana Humane Society and Hopeful Haven Equine Rescue in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Dr. Finocchio will always be remembered for his passion to help animals and people in need. This was especially exhibited through the establishment of the Marvin Fund, named after his black Labrador retriever, Marvin, who was twice relinquished to the RISPCA. Together they became a team who raised funds to financially assist animals in need of medical assistance. Marvin and Dr. Finocchio became members of the Delta Society's Pet Partner Therapy Program delivering their message to never give up. Together they visited nursing homes, adult day care centers, schools, libraries, youth camps and many more groups. In 2009, Marvin became therapy dog of the year. Together they received numerous awards for their commitment to help others. The Marvin Fund remains in existence today having helped 4,000 animals in need of medical assistance.
Dr. Finocchio was inducted into the Cranston Hall of Fame in 2007. In recognition of his significant efforts, achievements and contributions to veterinary medicine, he was named Rhode Island's Veterinarian of the Year in 2019.
He was an avid tennis player and captain of the New England Mixed Doubles Championship team in 2007 and the captain of several New England Senior Men's Championship teams. Golf was also a favorite pastime and he often played with family and friends he had known for many years. He was a coach and sponsor of Burrillville youth soccer and basketball teams and member and past chairman of the Burrillville Zoning Board of Review.
Doc was a humble man never wanting awards or praise. His passion was the care and well-being of all creatures great and small. He took great pride in sharing his expertise with others. Those in need were not forgotten and benefited by his many food drives every Thanksgiving. He treasured the moments spent with his son traveling the country to support his ultra-marathons. Above all, he cherished and adored his angel, Marie.
The funeral and burial will be private. Please visit RISPCA.com for a link to the live streamed funeral Mass on Tuesday at 10am. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Marvin Fund c/o RISPCA 186 Amaral St. Riverside R.I. 02915 or through the website https://rispca.com/services/marvin/.
Visit NardolilloFH.com for online condolences.

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Published in The Providence Journal on Nov. 8, 2020.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
NOV
10
Funeral Mass
10:00 AM
Memories & Condolences
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13 entries
January 15, 2021
I just found out about his passing today Jan,15th 2021. He is a great man. I was very fortunate to get to know him, however the circumstances that led me to meet him were just horrific and they still are to me on this very day. His life and legacy of helping hurt, sick, and abused animals will never be forgotten. DR as you know your work is now in good hands with Joe and Linda and the rest of the crew at the helm. I hope and pray you rest in peace as it is very hard to find peace on this rotten earth. Marvin is very happy to have you back with him now but us still here are very saddened from your passing. DR Tell my two Boys I love them and miss them so much. Thank you for everything you ever done for me which was a lot and I will never forget you. Your friend Bill Randall
WILLIAM RANDALL
Friend
January 15, 2021
I just found out about his passing today Jan,15th 2021. He is a great man. I was very fortunate to get to know him, however the circumstances that led me to meet him were just horrific and they still are to me on this very day. His life and legacy of helping hurt, sick, and abused animals will never be forgotten. DR as you know your work is now in good hands with Joe and Linda and the rest of the crew at the helm. I hope and pray you rest in peace as it is very hard to find peace on this rotten earth. Marvin is very happy to have you back with him now but us still here are very saddened from your passing. DR Tell my two Boys I love them and miss them so much. Thank you for everything you ever done for me which was a lot and I will never forget you. Your friend Bill Randall
WILLIAM RANDALL
Friend
January 15, 2021
What a great man, this is the first I have heard of this on Jan 15 2021. I was very fortunate to know him, however the circumstances that led me to meet him were just horrific and they still are to me on this very day. DR I hope and pray that you rest in peace as we never really have piece on this rotten earth. You legacy for all you done in your life's work for hurt and sick and abused animals will never be forgotten. DR your work that you left behind are in good hand with Joe and Linda at the helm. Marvin is sure glad to have you back. Thank you for everything your friend Bill Randall. PS. DR say hi to my two Boys I miss them so much !!
WILLIAM RANDALL
Friend
December 23, 2020
I don't know if you will remember me but I used to work for Ernie sr and Emilio manzi. I actually stayed with you in New Hampshire when I got kicked in the head by one of Ernie sr horses. so sorry to hear of your loss. Although it has been many years I will always remember his kindness and he will always be the wonderful man I met while growing up who taught me some valuable lessons about growing up. Please stay safe, stay strong and do what I do when I think of Ernie smile and be thankful that I was lucky enough to meet him. Bless you
jim griffin
Friend
November 10, 2020
Our deepest sympathy to Marie and Tim We will always remember the days of North West Catholic and Soccer games. God Bless your family
Perreault Family
Friend
November 10, 2020
Dear Marie,
I am so sorry to hear of Ernie's passing. My deepest condolences to you and your family.

Carol (Louchunas) Nawrocki Ross
Carol F Ross
November 8, 2020
We will all miss Dr Finnocchio!! Such a wonderful guy...he impacted so many lives, human and animal. He was my horse vet for many years. He was always there for me and my horses...even coming rushing over for a mare that had cast herself at 3 AM!!! When he would visit our barn, he would always make time for my small son. I’ll never forget the talking to he gave my son just before he entered kindergarten. He told him the most important guy to please was the guy in the mirror !!

When Ernie took on his new role at the RISPCA, he and Marvin visited my classroom of Special Ed students twice over the years. As he would walk Marvin down the crowded corridor of a middle school, a leash-less Marvin never left his side! The two of them did a great job entertaining my students and teaching them about pet care and safety. Ernie and Marvin also graciously visited my mom’s nursing home. They brought a lot of joy, all the while helping other pets with the Marvin Fund. I’m privileged to own my own painting by Marvelous Marvin!!
Over the years, I’d see Ernie at the Scituate Art Festival. We’d do some talking about the old days.
He will be very missed by many!

My deepest condolences to his family.

Hi
Sandy Kelley
Friend
November 8, 2020
We will all miss Dr Finnocchio!! Such a wonderful guy...he impacted so many lives, human and animal. He was my horse vet for many years. He was always there for me and my horses...even coming rushing over for a mare that had cast herself at 3 AM!!! When he would visit our barn, he would always make time for my small son. I’ll never forget the talking to he gave my son just before he entered kindergarten. He told him the most important guy to please was the guy in the mirror !!

When Ernie took on his new role at the RISPCA, he and Marvin visited my classroom of Special Ed students twice over the years. As he would walk Marvin down the crowded corridor of a middle school, a leash-less Marvin never left his side! The two of them did a great job entertaining my students and teaching them about pet care and safety. Ernie and Marvin also graciously visited my mom’s nursing home. They brought a lot of joy, all the while helping other pets with the Marvin Fund. I’m privileged to own my own painting by Marvelous Marvin!!
Over the years, I’d see Ernie at the Scituate Art Festival. We’d do some talking about the old days.
He will be very missed by many!

My deepest condolences to his family.

Sandy Kelley
Friend
November 8, 2020
I only met this special man once. That's all it took to realize how much he cared about all animals. He will never be forgotten . He left us too early & my heart & prayers go out to him & his family. Rest in peace & may all your accomplishments continue to go forward & help all of God's beautiful creatures. RIP
Joyce & Bart Thorpe
Acquaintance
November 8, 2020
Very Sorry to hear of Dr Finocchio passing he was a friend to my family. My uncles and my father love the Doc like a brother.
Peter Voccio
Friend
November 8, 2020
Doc was an excellent vet, took great care of our horses. Kindness and common sense were backed by his incredible and always increasing bank of knowledge of his field.
We’ve lost an incredible person.
Sincere sympathies to his wife, family, and to Molly.
Anna Seale Migneault Donahue
Friend
November 8, 2020
Doc thank you for all you taught me. I will continue your work. Marie, Tim and family your all in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs❤ ❤❤
R.I.P. Doc I will miss you!
Lisa
Coworker
November 7, 2020
Ernie was our team leader of our senior tennis team and I appreciated all the work he did. Thanks to his dedication at practice sessions and his leadership ability we went to 2 national championships in Tucson Arizona. I’ll remember Ernie as a dear friend. My love and condolences to Marie and all her family. I will miss a good friend.
John Micheletti
Friend
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