Fredric William Finlay, Jr. passed away at home on May 21, 2021 at the age of 67 due to cancer and liver disease. He was on the liver transplant list, but a tumor was found on the operating table which led the surgeon to stop the surgery. Fred was born in Pomona California, where his father was a radio announcer and his mother a homemaker. The family moved to Farmington, and then Durango, where his parents lived for the rest of their lives.
Fred and his siblings finished school in Durango. Fred began his cooking career at the Strater Hotel and worked in restaurant kitchens around the Southwest. In 1988 he moved to Illinois to join a landscaping business. He camped and fished all the lakes around Wisconsin. He always had flowers and plants in his house and had a garden every year. Over the years he developed fine woodworking and carpentry skills that ranged from making furniture and doing remodeling projects to building his own home in the Tween Lakes Subdivision. Fred always worked on his own cars and restored motorcycles as a hobby. He returned to Durango for good in 1998 to care for his mother
when she became ill with breast cancer. Fred's home and land burned in the 2002 Missionary Ridge fire. At the age of 48, he was quoted in the Herald to say, "Starting again is the only thing I know to do. I love it here ... It's going to be beautiful again here someday." And "It's all right. I'm still young enough to start over." Consistently positive, generous, and finding humor in all situations, Fred made good friendships and enjoyed his life. Fred was predeceased by his parents Edith Arlene Finlay and Fredric William Finlay; his aunts and uncles Francis Thurstonson, James Thurstonson and Enga Chiaramonte and her husband, Nardine; and Jack Finlay. Survivors are his siblings, Kevin William Finlay and Carla June Finlay (husband Robert Dawes); Uncle Richard Thurstonson and his wife Arline of Flora Vista, New Mexico; cousin Judy Jennings (husband Ron) of Farmington, New Mexico; and his many friends. Fred recently found a cousin on his father's side, John Finlay, whose daughter, Joanna Finlay Claypool made the connection for them. Fred was grateful for all the assistance and good cheer his band of friends and neighbors offered in his last years. The family thanks all the medical professionals who treated Fred during his illness. A gathering of family and friends is planned. Fred was cremated.
Published in The Durango Herald on May 27, 2021.