Source: Sherman Publications

Remembered for living life to the fullest
‘My dad taught us to pursue the things in life we want to do and not worry so much about what other people think.’

August 03, 2011

By Joe St. Henry

Review Editor

There is no doubt Ralph Finneren, a resident of Orion Township since the late 1970s, tackled life with a passion and lived life to the fullest.

Not only did he enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including sailing on Lake Orion and bicycling, but was a dedicated GM pipefitter for 30 years before retiring in 2009. He was a well-read history buff and a current adjunct history professor at Macomb Community College. (Finneren received a master’s degree in Chinese history with a minor in African History.) In addition to playing the banjo, he tinkered with cars, owning one of the first Pontiac Fieros ever built. Many summer weekends were spent with his wife, family and dog Charlie Joe at their cottage in East Tawas.

Finneren may have pursued many personal interests, but he always put the needs of others first said his son Rory, 29. That is how he, his sister Holli, 24, and mother Judy hope people will remember Finneren, who passed away last week after a bicycling accident on Giddings Road in Orion Township. He was 58.

Rory said his father was easy going and never in a bad mood. In fact, he could not remember even one time when his dad ever got angry. His fun-loving personality rubbed off on his children and others, Rory added.

“My dad taught us to pursue the things in life we want to do and not worry so much about what other people think,” Finneren’s son said. “I will never forget that.”

In addition to sailing and biking, Finneren took up running and kayaking over the past couple of years.

Rory said his dad’s commitment to a healthy lifestyle helped him improve in both biking and running. Finneren recently competed in a Lake Orion Rotary duathlon and cut 12 minutes off his time from last year – a feat of which he was especially proud.

“My dad inspired my sister and me to begin competing in triathlons,” Rory said. “He was contemplating giving triathlons a shot next.”

His son knows his father would have embraced that challenge like everything else in life – with zeal and passion.

Obituary information on Page 14.