Remembering Mary Ellen Finch, 1922-2021

Family and friends are remembering Mary Ellen Finch, and sharing this with her community:

Mary Ellen Finch
July 25, 1922 – April 18, 2021

Mary Ellen (Anderson) Finch, a long-time West Seattle resident, passed away peacefully on April 18, 2021, at the home of her daughter in Gig Harbor. She was born on July 25, 1922 in Spirit Lake, Idaho, to Mel and Veronica (Dolan) Anderson. Her family relocated to West Seattle in 1927, when her father took a job at Boeing, and she resided there until 2015, when she moved to Gig Harbor. On April 10, 1948, she married Robert (Bob) Finch at Holy Rosary Church and they were married for 42 years. He preceded her in death on October 5, 1990.

Mary Ellen was the first graduate of Holy Rosary High School, which was the class of 1940. She is believed to be the last surviving graduate of that initial class. She was the mother of six, Nana of ten, and GG of six. She was the last surviving Dolan cousin out of the thirty-four grandchildren of James Albert Dolan, her mother’s father.

For us, the six children of Mary Ellen and Bob, our childhood was a blast. But in hindsight, it must have seemed like an eternal foot race. Between laundry, meals, school uniforms, appointments, groceries, Sunday Mass and 101 other things for six kids, it had to be terribly wearing for our parents. We don’t know how they kept up their strength and positive attitudes nor why they didn’t put half of us up for adoption. But, from our viewpoint at the time, our childhood was magical. Each of us knew he or she was mom’s favorite.

Mary Ellen was an avid reader, and was a big fan of Jane Austin, John Grisham, and any and all biographies. She organized materials on the Finch family divers and family genealogy. She had a keen interest in history and how the families played into those larger stories, such as the maritime history of the PNW and Alaska, and also the first half-century of Boeing (her father, along with Bill Boeing, met Amelia Earhart at the 1929 Cleveland Air Show, where Boeing displayed its new aircraft, the 80-A passenger plane). She was also interested in World War II, as she, her relatives, and essentially her whole generation was involved and affected by it. She was also fascinated by the Indigenous Peoples of North America, especially those people of the Coastal Tribes from Washington state on through to Alaska.

In addition to history, Mary Ellen had a passion for reading and learning about Roman and Egyptian archaeology. She was pleased that she was born the same year as the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in Egypt. Although she never traveled to Egypt, she was thrilled to see several Tut exhibits in Seattle over the years. In 1987, she had a cameo role in the TV film “Stamp of a Killer,” starring Jimmy Smits and Judith Light. At the age of 89 and again at age 91, she traveled to Saudi Arabia.

Family was important to mom. She enjoyed when everyone got together to celebrate her birthday. Bob always put the flag out on her special day and the tradition continued through her time in West Seattle. Mary Ellen and Bob instilled in their six children the importance of education, hard work, integrity, equality, justice, and service to others. They demonstrated to them a love of reading, love of family and love of country.

Mary Ellen is survived by her six children: Mary Ann Strickler, Olympia; Tim Finch, Sequim; Trish Hanson and husband Bill, Gig Harbor; John Finch, Grants Pass, OR; Suzann Finch and partner Tom McNeely, Bellingham; and Sandye (Alex) Finch and husband Abdullah, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Grandchildren include Veronica Lannom, Scott Finch, Adam Finch, Monica Hanson, Daniel Hanson, Robbie (Ahmed) Khatib, and Fahad, Jumana, Abdul Wadood and Maria al-Subiany. Great-grandchildren include Averie, Henry, Emmett, Griffey, Georgia, and Remi. Her husband Bob, parents, and brothers Ed and Bill Anderson preceded her in death.

The family wants to thank the staff of MultiCare Home Health and Hospice, as well as our sister Trish, for giving our dear mother such wonderful care in her final months.

Mom’s favorite quote, which she wanted in her obituary, was from the lotus chalice found in Tut’s tomb: May your ka live, may you spend millions of years, you, who love Thebes, sitting with your face to the north wind, your eyes beholding happiness.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to

4 Replies to "Remembering Mary Ellen Finch, 1922-2021"

  • Bob Weglin May 23, 2021 (1:46 pm)

    RIP Mary Ellen Finch. Condolences to her wonderful family.

  • Barb burns vadakin May 23, 2021 (10:07 pm)

    Sorry for your loss. Your mom raised a bunch of great kids. 

    • Timothy Henry Finch May 26, 2021 (1:07 pm)

      Thank you Barbara for your kind words.  I wanted to tell you that your Mom was probably the first ‘grown up’ that I had honest conversations with on an equal basis, during my later teen years.  She had a way of making us (the lost tribe of the West Seattle Local Resistance, Dan’s friends.) feel that our opinions and ideas had merit. She was the first ‘grown up’ to tell me that I was funny and that there was a kind of value in that. Initially I didn’t believe her but she would gave me examples. She helped me on my life long journey to maturity, which I’m still working on.

  • Katherine Morrison May 24, 2021 (12:38 pm)

    This is the most beautiful obituary. I wish I knew your mother, what a wonderful woman. 

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