The News Guard, Lincoln City, OR 97367
December 4, 2012
Wilma Finlay died on Monday, Nov. 12, at Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center in Kodiak. She was 100 years old.
Wilma was born June 11, 1912, in Kooskia, Idaho, to John Franklin Brown and Pearl Evelyn Makinster. She was the first daughter and fourth child of 10 born to the couple. As a child, Wilma traveled from Idaho to Pennsylvania and back to California and Oregon with her family as a migrant worker. At age 18, she married Fred Wintermantel in Oregon, and they began building their own farm. At age 19, Wilma had a baby girl, Betty. Wilma became a widow at age 20 when Fred succumbed to a flu epidemic after being ill for only two weeks.
Wilma worked hard to survive and provide for her baby. Five years passed, and on May 18, 1938, she married Lawrence Finlay, a local farmer who raised mink and fox. They married in Talbot, Ore., and remained married until Lawrence’s death in 1994. During their time in Oregon, they added two more boys, David and Dale, to the family.
Wilma always felt that the Lord had been with her and that she always had known God, so when her husband Lawrence went forward in a Sunday evening service to declare his decision for Christ that he had made two weeks earlier, she went forward with him and dedicated her life to the Lord. This was under the ministry of the Christian and Missionary Alliance church pastor, Rev. Rogers R. Irwin, at the Talbot Community Church.
In 1962, Wilma and Lawrence moved to Alaska to homestead in the Matanuska Valley and raise potatoes. After a year, they moved to Homer to fish crab, and they moved to Kodiak a year later. Wilma took on many jobs in Kodiak, including town seamstress, director of activities for the Kodiak Senior Center, church secretary at Kodiak Bible Chapel and boarding high school students from Kodiak Island villages. She was involved in many volunteer activities such as 4-H, and also helped to establish the first Christian Women’s Club in Kodiak. She loved to fish the road system in Kodiak during the silver salmon run. Wilma was also a 20-year survivor of breast cancer. To Wilma, her family was her priority. She loved cooking, sewing, crocheting, reading, entertaining, playing with her grandchildren and a good game of Scrabble.
Wilma Finlay was many things to many people—a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, teacher, confidant, inspiration, leader. Whatever she did, she did with great strength, gusto, laughter and love. Wilma stated that she “never wanted to be bored, but always wanted to keep busy,” and that may be the secret of her longevity for 100 years.
She is survived by her sister Naomi Hill of Albany, Ore.; children Betty (Willie) Heinrichs of Puyallup, Wash., David (Freda) Finlay of Eagle River, Dale (Jan) Finlay of Kodiak; grandchildren Robin (Barb) Heinrichs of Roy, Wash., Kim (Brad) Goetz of Puyallup, Wash., Randy (Sangetta) Heinrichs of Riverbank, Calif., Todd (Kara) Heinrichs of Fife, Wash.; great-grandchildren Katrina (Marcus) Stewart of Kodiak, John (Sheridan) Heinrichs of North Pole, Kim Heinrichs of Anchorage, Caleb Heinrichs of Kodiak, Kristin (Brian) Jones of Kent, Wash., Laurel (Billy) Donkervoet of Washington, Amanda and Emma Heinrichs of Riverbank, Calif., Gabriel and Anneleise Heinrichs of Fife, Wash.; great-great-grandchildren: Jonah and Mia Stewart of Kodiak, Kayla, Shawn, and Ethan Heinrichs of North Pole, Johnny Heinrichs of Kodiak, Sierra, Jayce, and Jacoby Jones of Kent, Wash., Peter Donkervoet of Washington; and many nieces and nephews and beloved friends.
A funeral and interment have been held.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to The Gideon’s International at PO Box 140800, Nashville, TN 37214 or online at www.gideons.org/HowYouCanHelp/Give
Arrangements were through the Howell-Edwards-Doerkson Funeral Home in Salem, Ore.