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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Obituary: Finley, Lori Jean (Churchill)

Age 59

FINLEY, Lori Jean (Churchill) On June 19th, 2015 in the comfort of her home, Lori Jean (Churchill) Finley left this world to be with the Lord of Light and life.

She was born to loving parents (William “Bill” Horton and Bonnie Jean Churchill), in Seattle, Washington on August 27th, 1955.

She enjoyed a childhood full of cherished memories with her sisters (Kimberly Ann and Marcella Arlene), many of which involved camping and hiking trips at their cabin on Mt.


In 1968, Bill was transferred to Spokane, Washington where Lori attended Sacajawea Middle School and graduated from Ferris High School in 1973.

Lori was a gorgeous and gregarious young woman with golden blonde hair, and was a candidate for Ms. Spokane during her high school years.

After graduating from high school, Lori began her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education at Eastern Washington State College (University), where she met and fell in love with Craig Ellis Finley.

Lori began a long and accomplished teaching career in 1977, first beginning initially at Trentwood Elementary Grade School in the East Valley School District and then transferred to Trent Elementary where she taught for many years as she was a dedicated teacher and loved her profession.

Lori and Craig were married April 1st, 1978 and after several years of wedded bliss and attempting to have children of their own, they made the noble decision to adopt two children, they chose Finley Edward William in 1986 and Christine Noel in 1990.

Lori’s courageous and valiant battle with cancer began shortly thereafter, spanning nearly a decade and was followed by a tragic end to her life as an educator when she suffered a broken femur and a subsequent pulmonary embolism.

She attempted to continue teaching with an oxygen concentrator in her classroom, but it became evident that part of her life was no longer possible.

In 2012, Lori’s incredible pursuit to inculcate new generations of lifelong learners with a passion for knowledge ended.

She began a new phase of her life, creating a lunch group of Trent Elementary retirees and joyfully reminiscing with her former colleagues once a month.

And when Craig couldn’t get time off work to travel to Oregon to see Christy participate in plays Lori would travel with her sister Kim and have the time of her life.

Lori loved to entertain at her home where she hosted numerous gatherings.

She also enjoyed rousing evenings of bunko and made a point to drive the twenty-five minute commute to Hamblen Park Presbyterian Church for bible studies and book clubs.

Lori was an avid churchgoer and her faith was unshakable, even in the darkest times of her illnesses.

Lori Finley was a devoted spouse, and endlessly supported her husband Craig in all of his pursuits, and passions which were returned in kind with his steadfast care of his wife until the very end.

Finley and Christine enjoyed the same boundless support in their dramatic, musical, and academic lives, a true testament to her unconditional love for her children.

Her parents and step-parents each knew how beloved they were, and how Lori loved them well.

Her passion for life, legacy of strength, compassion, faith and perseverance lives on.

She is survived by her beloved husband, Craig Finley; her son Finley Romano; her daughter, Christine (Joshua) Anderson of Albany, Oregon; mother Bonnie and her husband (Chet) Nelson, of Spokane, WA; step-mother Velma (Morris) Churchill of Spokane Valley, WA; her sister Kimberly Simpson of Omak, WA; her sister and brother-in-law Marcella (Ryan) Radar of Richland, WA; uncle Jack Churchill of Davis, CA; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Laura Lee (Finley) Santos and Roy Santos of Manhatten Beach, CA; numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews; and countless students whose lives and hearts she touched and changed forever; and the colleagues whom she loved and considered family.

She was preceded in death by her father, William Churchill.

A memorial service to celebrate Lori’s life will be held at Hamblen Park Presbyterrian Church at 4102 S. Crestline in Spokane on Saturday July 11th, 2015, at 2:00PM.

Thornhill Valley Funeral Home is credited with Lori’s end of life care.