A well-trained machinist, talented woodworking artist, soft-spoken gentle longtime resident, J.C. Finley, 87, passed away Saturday, June 22, at his home.
He was born to Jim and Zelda Finley in Florence, Colo., on Feb. 20, 1926, the youngest of three siblings. The family later settled in Monolith Townsite, a community established by Monolith Portland Cement Company where his father was employed, and he attended Tehachapi schools. With World War II in heated battle, he joined the U.S. Navy in March of 1943 and was deployed to Guadalcanal here he served in a carrier aircraft service unit.
Upon his honorable discharge from the Navy in 1947, he worked and earned his postponed high school diploma from Tehachapi Valley Union High School while employed as a machinist at Monolith Portland Cement Company, following in his father’s footsteps. For 38 years he traveled the four-mile distance from Tehachapi to the cement plant and retired as a highly trained machine professional.
He met and married his true love, Marjorie Ann Johnson, on May 15, 1948, in the Community Congregational Church, a union sealed for 59 years until his wife’s death on Nov. 20, 2007. The loss of his partner and friend was devastating for him and he was never able to recover from the ever-present hurt.
Often complimented by being called a perfectionist in any project he attempted, he excelled particularly in woodworking with impeccable results. He crafted writing pens, bowls, vases and mantle clocks all of which he gave to friends and family who were delighted with his wares and generosity, and he was also a natural repairman. He made furniture and refinished many pieces into beautiful useful items. He loved golfing, dancing and bowling.
His talent also kept the Tehachapi News Linotype machine operating well past its prime and when the News converted to cold type in the 1960s, he built the light tables required by the new technology.
Survivors include his son, Michael Walter, the pride of his life, and his beloved daughter-in-law, Peggy, two nieces, Patricia Harrison and Sue Koenig, brother-in-law Fred Castro, and the large family of his wife, Walter and Sarah Johnson’s descendants.
A graveside funeral service with full military honors will be held at 10 a.m. on July 1. Radar Pratt will officiate with Mr. Finley's niece, Jana Johnson Clow, serving as eulogist.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Salvation Army or Wounded Warriors Project. Arrangements are being handled by Mish Funeral Home, 120 Minner Ave., Oildale.