John Craig Finley, 67, of Portland, passed away on June 20, 2008, in his home at Charbonneau.
Born Aug. 17, 1940, to Craig and Thelma Finley, John grew up in Portland and graduated from Washington High School in 1958. After high school, John attended Portland State College for one year and then joined the U.S. Army. His duty stations while on active duty included Okinawa, South Korea, and the Far East, where he served as a postal clerk and a performer with an entertainment troop. He was discharged from the Army in 1963.
As part of the fourth generation of J.P. Finley and Sons Mortuary, John attended San Francisco Mortuary College and ultimately obtained his licenses as a funeral director and embalmer in 1964. It was during this time that he met his wife-to-be, Kathleen Albers. John and Kathy married in 1965 and had two sons, Michael J. Finley of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Robert J. Finley of Portland. John and Kathleen later divorced.
John’s many hobbies included cooking, entertaining for friends, tending to his garden, and memberships in numerous civic groups such as the Portland Elks, the Scottish Rite and the Portland Kiwanis. He later became an exalted ruler in B.P.O.E. #142. John’s greatest hobby and life-long love was magic. As a magician, John spent over 50 years as a showman and entertainer in both recreational and professional capacities. He earned a lifetime honorary membership in the Society of American Magicians. He also attained the status as an Associate of the Inner Magic Circle in the Magic Circle organization headquartered in London, England. John was also a member of the University Club, the Portland Executives Association, and the Rotary Club of Portland. He was often referred to as Portland’s only “Mortician Magician.”
John retired in 1996 and spent 11 years in Chandler, Ariz. He recently moved back to the Portland area.
John is survived by his sons, Michael and his wife, Jennifer, and Robert and his wife, Cynthia; two grandsons, Sean and Alec; two granddaughters, Elise and McKenna; brother, George; sister, Tara; and niece, Stella Finley Bender.
John and I shared a common bond other than a love of magic. We were both from the Farquhar clan. Yup, Finley is part of the clan and we share the same tartan and family crest. I first discovered this when John sent me a letter on the most impressive stationery that included an embossed family crest and the words “the Royal Family of Magic”. I was dumbfounded to see my family crest on the top of the letter and read the title! I had to telephone right away to say I could not agree more! He was also the organizer of the 2000 PCAM in Portland, Oregon where I became the fifth recipient of the coveted Grand Prix du Honeur.
“The future ain’t what it used to be.” – Yogi Berra