TERENCE T. FINN
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FINN TERENCE T. FINN Retired federal civil servant, of Chestertown, MD, originally of Long Island, NY, died suddenly June 27, 2014. He was 71. From 1966 to 1994, Finn's government career included positions at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and on Capitol Hill, with 16 of those years in the Senior Executive Service (SES). At NASA, he was a charter member of the Space Station Task Force, and served as the agency's Director of Legislative Affairs where he championed the Space Shuttle. Before that, he was Director of Policy and Plans for the Office of Space Flight. For his contribution to the agency he was awarded NASA's Exceptional Service medal and two Group Achievement awards. Prior to NASA, Finn held several staff positions on Capitol Hill, including Senior Counsel for Energy, Science, and Space at the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget. He was Staff Consultant to the U.S. House of Representatives' Select Committee on Committees and he began his Hill career in 1966 as Legislative Assistant to Senator Joseph D. Tydings, a Democrat from Maryland. Finn also was an adjunct professor of political science in Washington, D.C. He taught graduate-level courses on Congress, the Presidency, lobbying, and the federal budget at American, Catholic, and George Washington Universities. Since 1975 he was a member of the American Political Science Association. Finn was also an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. For seven years he served on the Board of Trustees at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland. Terence Finn received a B.A. from Williams College in 1964 and, in 1965, an M.A. from the University of Sussex in Great Britain. He held a Ph. D. in American Government from Georgetown University. Finn authored four books - two novels, and two historical accounts: "The Best of Times," about an American P-47 pilot in England during 1943; "To Begin Again," about a college professor recalled to the Air Force in 1951; and "When Europe Went Mad," a compact summary of the First World War Notably, in early 2014, Penguin published Finn's book "America at War: Concise Histories of U.S. Military Conflicts From Lexington to Afghanistan." Finn enjoyed selling these works at regional air shows. After retiring from NASA, Finn and his wife Joyce moved to Maryland's Eastern Shore, to a house on a bluff overlooking Chesapeake Bay with Baltimore in the distance. While there he served as Vice President of the Chester River Association, Vice President of the Tolchester Community Association, and as a board member of The Foundation for the Kent County Public Library. He taught a course in political science at Washington College and created several illustrated lecture courses for its Academy of Life Long Learning in which his longstanding passion for military history was the centerpiece. Finn was an active member of the Tolchester, Chestertown, and Rock Hall communities. A favorite daily destination was a local coffee shop - Java Rock - where he met and engaged in animated conversations with good friends. For more than 15 years, Terry and his brother John made annual trips to see games in famous baseball parks. Twice Finn took a cadre of close friends to New York Yankees Fantasy Baseball Camp. An avid traveler, Finn dazzled friends and family with his off-the-cuff history lessons while on trips to places like Red Square, Moscow, and Omaha Beach, Normandy. When not reading a history book, The Washington Post, or The Wall Street Journal, Finn was thinking about or watching his beloved Washington Redskins, or a New York Yankees game. He was curious, kind, intellectual and a voracious reader and learner. Finn was a listener and a natural teacher. His family and friendships were central in his life. Terence Finn is survived by his wife of 19 years, Joyce Purcell, his sons, Kevin and Tim, his daughter-in-law, Jaralyn, stepson, Daniel Schneider, and his brother, John, and sister-in-law Marianne, and four much-loved housecats. Also surviving Finn are extended family from his first marriage to the late Leslie Kohn of Baltimore, MD. A memorial service is planned for August, date to be decided, but please contact Fellows, Helfenbein & Newnam Funeral Home at (410) 778-0055 for details. The Finn/Purcells are compiling a small booklet of stories and anecdotes, and invite family, friends, and co-workers to contribute. Please e-mail your text to RememberTerry@yahoo.com by July 15t, 2014. In lieu of flowers gifts may be made to The Foundation for Kent County Public Library Inc., PO Box 24, Chestertown, MD 21620; or the Humane Society of Kent County, 10720 Augustine Herman Highway, Chestertown, MD, 21620.


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Published in The Washington Post on Jul. 6, 2014.
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Memories & Condolences
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10 entries
September 22, 2014
Hello Joyce, This is Madhu Sidhu and I knew Terry from Character Counts! I just became aware of his demise. Please accept my belated condolences. I am so sorry for your loss. Warm Regards. Madhu
August 3, 2014
Terry with historian Barrett Tillman at Champlin Museum in Arizona
Bob Powell
July 31, 2014
When I bought a new fun car and it turned out to match Terry's in model, a Miata, it was even the same color. Our choice of outfits coincidental.
Bob Powell
July 27, 2014
Although I left NASA in 1986, the five or so years that I worked with Terry were indeed remarkable. He was a gifted, articulate and gifted human being. Remember the long nights we stayed up working on President Reagan's State of the Union Address where he announced the nations commitment to a permanent manned presence in space. It feels like yesterday. God Bless my friend.
Azeezaly Jaffer
July 12, 2014
Sending sympathy and prayers. I worked with Terry at NASA Legislative Affairs, i have many fond memories.
Paula Geisz
July 9, 2014
The black Jag convertible turned smoothly into a parking space in the front of Java Rock ,, Rock Hall''s coffee venue and gathering spot . Smiles widened and brightened on his arrival . Known for his encyclopedic knowledge of military and aviation history , exquisite and gentle manners , and profound listening ability . He was loved by all . A man of no professed religious faith , he lived a life of deep faithfulness to his wife , Joyce , sons , Dan , Tim and Kevin , brother , friends and beloved alma mater , Williams College . The essence of Terry Finn was the giving and receiving of love as shown thru his actions thru all his years . To say he will be missed grossly underestimates the impact he had on the lives of others and their continuing sorrow on his passing .

Joe Bodell
Rock Hall ,MD
July 8, 2014
Touched by this wonderful obituary, Terry was a kind soul whom many enjoyed. Witty, experienced, a fine listener. I will miss my baseball friend.

John R. Caldwell, Jr.
July 5, 2014
Very sorry for your loss. I served with both Terry & Leslie on the Staff of Sen. Jos. D. Tydings (D-MD) and then again with Terry at NASA Hdqs. Please know I will hold Terry and your family in my heart & prayers. I shall miss him at the Tydings Reunions. Our lives crossed twice in a major way and I do not believe it was a coincidence. God's grace. Love & Prayers, Kathryn Riley Newman
Kathryn Riley Newman
July 3, 2014
I worked with Terry at the Senate Budget Committee in the late 1970s, and thought very very well of him, both as a dedicated professional, and as an exceptionally warm and caring person.
My deepest sympathies to his family.
Liz Tankersley
July 2, 2014
Please accept my sincere condolences. I am sure there are many great memories you have that can and will bring a smile to your face and heart. May the Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our father who loved us give you comfort and comfort your hearts and make you firm. 2 Thess. 2: 16, 17.
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