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[courtesy of Reenie Winfrey Carlton]

Grave marker for John M. Finch in Plot L71, Saint Ann's Cemetery, East Helena (Lewis and Clark county), Montana.

John's death certificate indicates that he worked as a crane operator for ASARCO [American Smelting and Refining Company] in East Helena, MT.

Causes of death: CHF [congestive heart failure] and ASCVD [atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease].  His remains were cremated.

   John Madison Finch Jr., 63, of East Helena, left his legacy of peace and fairness to his family when he died at St. Peter's Hospital on Dec. 11, 2001. His heart had given to others and to himself all it possibly could.
   John was born Nov.1, 1938, in Chillicothe, Texas to John M. Finch and Norma Ellen Finch. From Texas to Oklahoma to Montana, John was known for his loyalty and commitment to his family and his country.
   At the early age of seven, he had his first job as a corner newspaper boy just after the War began. Already he had acquired his gift of working hard so that others would have something.
   John joined the Army, and served in the Korean War with the 101st Airborne Division. Upon moving to East Helena, John worked at the Asarco Smelter as a crane operator for 32 years, and assumed the post of Smelter Union President of the Local 72 USWA.
   On Sept. 1, 1962, John married Carol Mae Miller at St. Mary's Church in Helena. John's two sons Terry and John enjoyed summers with them in East Helena, until Terry's death in l990. Carol preceded John in death just five months ago in July 2001.
   John has much to his credit in the way of service to his country, his community, his union and his family. Known for his honesty, toughness and fairness, John served as East Helena City Judge. He was a retired East Helena Fire Fighter, and a Cory-Dullum VFW Post 10,010 commander.
   As a member of the Funeral Honor Guard, John was always there to present arms and honor his fellow veterans for services at Fort Harrison and elsewhere.
   He pitched in to help with the books at the Club, and was known to make sure young men would get their selective service registration in on time..
  John was a man of duty and responsibility, yet he lived his life to the full. John had a passion for hunting and the outdoors, and knew which snowmobile trails offered the best ride.

   His renown for eating super hot chilies, which his wife Carol tended, made him one of the best testers of hot foods around. Bowling and coin collecting, poker games and telling stories are memories that will be carried on  The East Helena Fireworks that have come to be tradition were in part, an extension of John's passion for his country's freedom. John was the man behind the scenes, making sure the funds were collected and accounted for, in order that so many could enjoy the brilliant event year after year.
   John was also preceded in death by his father, John Madison Finch Sr., and his sister Patsy Howell.
   Survivors include his son John M Finch V of Helena; his mother Nonna Finch Anderson of Odgen, Utah; a sister Shirley and brother-in-law Art Serumgard of Ogden; his aunt Billie Marie Hunt of Oklahoma; his beloved cousins Tom Finch and wife Valoree of California, and Caroline Baker of Oklahoma; sisters-in-law Maggie Wooten of Helena and Mary Jo and Guy Stoner of Elliston; brother-in-law Jim Miller; mother-in-law Hazel Miller, both of Helena; grandchildren, who knew their grandpa's love for them are J.M. Finch, Michael and Morgen Finch; and great-grandchild Jeremiah; nephews and nieces also received their Uncle John's kindness.
   Visitation will be at the Hagler-Anderson Mortuary from 3 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, to 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14. Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church, with the Rev. Daniel B. Shea officiating.
   Following the reception at the church, military graveside services will be conducted by the Lewis and Clark Veterans Council at 1 p.m. at St. Ann's Cemetery in East Helena.
   In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to His Healing Love, Inc., 1525 Valley Forge Road, Helena, MT 59602.

Finch Enlists in Army
Goes to Fort Ord

   John M. Finch, Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. John Finch of 208 South Ewing, enlisted into the airborne branch of the army Friday, according to MSgt George Boryan, local army recruiter.
  Finch was sent to Ford Ord, Calif., where he will take his basic training. Following his basic training, he will take his jump training at Fort Benning, Ga., after which he will be assigned to one of the army's airborne divisions.

[The Independent-Record, Helena, MT, 31 Jul 1954, Sat, Page 5]

Pfc. John M. Finch, Jr., son of John M. Finch of 1325 Boulder took part in organizational day activities for the new 101st airborne division at Fort Campbell, Ky. recently. Finch, a member of the support company of the division's 508th regiment, entered the army in July 1954. 

[The Independent-Record, Helena, MT, 27 Sep 1956, Thu. Page 5]

While in Japan with the 508th ARCT, John sent this scarf to his mother. The motif features a C-124, the type aircraft used in "Operation Gyroscope", Mt. Fuji and the 508th Red Devil as well as regimental crests.  Of special note is his personal details, name, rank, ASN and that he was in Support Co.

The scarf was purchased in a Montana auction by Eli Smith who has attempted to locate a member of the family.  Having had no success, he sent the scarf to Jumpmaster and the search continues.




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