On July 14, 2023, after his yearlong valiant battle with cancer, Warren Ivan Finch embarked on his final check ride flying west with the night. While his adventures took him around the world, made him knowledgeable about history, woodworking, education and finance, Warren's deep affection for Iowa never waned.
Before embarking on his adventures, he graduated from Wapsie Valley High School, Fairbanks, Iowa, in 1960, from Iowa State University with Bachelor and Master's degrees in Science. He married Myra Jane Hayward in 1965. He served in the United States Army in Alaska as a Nike Missile Battery Commander. From 1969 to 1992 he was an award-winning teacher and school administrator in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District serving at all levels. After retirement from education he began a career in finance.
In 1997 after 29 years in Alaska, Warren and Myra moved to San Juan Island. He loved flying his own planes keeping them meticulously maintained, logging many hours traveling between Alaska, the San Juans and his beloved Iowa. Warren and Myra travelled internationally having seen much of the world and making lifelong friends along the way. Warren flew cancer patients for treatment and educated those who feared flying.
He was an accomplished woodworker and basket maker. He presented his friends with gifts of Maloof-style rocking chairs, Nantucket baskets, a Celtic harp for Avon, and intricate cutting boards. He designed and supervised projects for a local Boy Scout Troop. Nearly all of the wood used in his woodworking was harvested and milled on his Iowa farm. Warren took great pride in the family farm, setting aside 50 acres in a conservation easement that remains to this day.
All of this doesn't begin to describe Warren. He was curious about the world his whole life, was very well read and had a deep knowledge of United States and European history. He was devoted to his friends, helpful and supportive, ofen quietly and anonymously so, without expecting credit.
He was an artist, a craftsman, a teacher, a mentor, could be an imposing presence, and a man of impeccable character and infinite kindness. As he aged he became more liberal, less tolerant of bigotry and believed living well was the best revenge!
He is preceded in death by his mother, Daisey Eleanor, his father, Ivan and his brother Wendell. He is survived by Myra, his wife of 58 years, his son Aaron of Portland, Oregon, his honorary son, Jason Mendes of Tulsa, Oklahoma and his woodworking partner and best friend, Katy Doran of Friday Harbor, Washington.
So...on his final check ride, flying west with the night and straight on 'til the morning sun, surely we shall all meet again.
Services will be held in Iowa sometime in the fall of the year.
Contributions can be made to: Stillpoint School | P.O. Box 576 | Friday Harbor, WA