Aug. 2, 1921 — June 11, 2011
Mary Louise Finnin died peacefully at the age of 89. She was born in Braddock, Pa., to John T. Finnin and Florence Kennedy Finnin. She had an older brother John “Jack” K. Finnin. Both Mary and Jack graduated with honors from the University of Pittsburgh in business administration. Jack attended as a matter of course, and Mary was able to attend at her mother’s insistence despite her father’s objections. Mary was one of the few women to earn a bachelor’s degree in business back in 1942 and her education would prove valuable to the family. In 1944, her brother Jack died of a bleeding ulcer, and in 1952 her father died in his sleep. As a result, Mary became the family bread winner and supported her mother Florence the rest of her life.
Mary began her career as an administrator for U.S. Steel in Pittsburgh but, shortly after her father died, she was able to transfer to the San Francisco office. Mary and her mother moved to an apartment on Russian Hill. As a very fashionable, tall and beautiful professional woman, Mary loved to dress well and always wore tall high-heeled shoes. Mary loved to tell the story of the comments she would get as she navigated the hills of San Francisco in her heels to catch the street cars on her way to and from work.
In 1967, upon returning from a trip, Mary’s mother said that a recruiter was desperately trying to get ahold of her to fill a position as an executive administrator for a firm in Los Angeles. While she had not heard much about the firm, they were very persistent and eventually convinced her to take the position and move to Santa Monica with her mother. Not being much of a movie fan did not prevent Mary from working until her retirement in 1991 for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. While there, she worked with many celebrities including Gregory Peck and Karl Malden.
Mary enjoyed working, but her favorite activities were meeting her friends for shopping and lunch, visiting relatives and world travel. Mary traveled to Europe, the Middle East, the Far East and Oceania. Upon retirement, Mary worked as a docent at the then-brand-new Getty Museum.
While Mary never married or had children, she and her mother regularly visited her cousin’s families in California and Pennsylvania. All the children looked forward to the visits by their glamorous “Aunt Florence and Mary Louise” and their stories about the old days and Hollywood.
Mary is survived by her cousin James A. Kennedy and his family in Davis; the family of her deceased cousin Thomas C. Kennedy in the Washington, D.C., area; her cousins Tom Barry, Rita Barry, Mary Barry Dixon and family, and the family of her cousin Francis Barry, most of whom live in the Pittsburgh area. Mary also had numerous Finnin relatives who lived in the Pittsburgh area.
A funeral mass is planned at 10 a.m. Monday, June 27, at St. James Catholic Church, 1275 B St., Davis, with a burial and celebration following. In remembrance of Mary Louise, she requested that donations be made to the National Cancer Coalition.