Michael Finnis (1921-2015)

We at VIOCS wish to extend our condolences to the family and friends of our fellow alumnus, Michael Finnis. His son,  David,  has kindly provided the following obituary for inclusion on our website:

Born in London, England on July 4, 1921, Michael was the eldest son of Major Herbert Cobb Finnis, OBE and Gwendolyn (Addinsell) Finnis.  He grew up in Suffolk and attended  boarding school at Wellington College.  At 19 he enlisted in the Royal Artillery and served, as a Lieutenant, with the First Indian Field Regiment in Burma.  Following the War he attended Lincoln College, Oxford where he received a forestry degree.  He immigrated to Canada in 1948 where he worked for the B.C. Forest Service.  He married Joan Turner on October 7, 1950 at St Mary’s Kerrisdale, Vancouver and they lived in Victoria prior to moving temporarily to Corvallis, Oregon where he obtained a Masters degree in Forestry from Oregon State University.   They returned to Victoria where Michael resumed working for the BC Forest Service and where son David was born in 1958.   In 1960 the family moved to Olympia, Washington where Michael worked for the Department of Natural Resources until 1972 when the family, now including son Mark, born in 1962, returned to Victoria.  While in Olympia Michael taught Sunday school at St John’s Episcopal Church, acted in amateur theatre, introduced his two sons to soccer by leading a group of neighbourhood children in weekly soccer games.  He also took up sailing, took his family on numerous camping trips and built a deck!  Upon the family’s return to Victoria he worked for the Research and Protection Division of the B.C. Forest Service until his retirement in June 1982.  Retirement was a busy time as he spent time with his grandchildren, curled, volunteered as a docent at Government House and looked after his bees.   In addition, he was a very active member of Christ Church Cathedral; serving as People’s Warden during the completion of the east wall.  A favourite Thursday activity, which he continued to do until this fall, was “stewarding” and showing people around the Cathedral.  He joined the Burma Star Association and enjoyed his time with others who had served in “The Forgotten War”.  Michael was an avid gardener and was very active with the Victoria Horticultural Society.  He was well known for his sense of humour and creation of new words.  He loved supplying fresh vegetables to family, friends and neighbours and would often say “One day I’m going to ask St Peter why God created earwigs”.

Survived by Joan, his beloved wife of 65 years, sons David (Kathy Millar) and Mark and five grandchildren: Daniel, Stephen, Kathryn, Tristan and Emily.  Sadly predeceased by his younger brother Tim.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation or a charity of your choice.

Internment in the Cathedral Columbarium at a later date.