Thomas H. Fingland
July 9, 1932 - April 10, 2020
On April 10, 2020 at age 87. Predeceased by his beloved first wife Shirley, daughter Linda Geiger, son-in-law, Will Harrington, granddaughter, Sarah Harrington, sisters Doris Bogner, Shirley Patton and Kathy Bentley. He is survived by his loving wife, Valerie (Reagan), and his children Sheryl (Al) Arilotta, Wendy Harrington, Tim Fingland (Beth Burchill), son-in-law Robert (Susan) Geiger, 6 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren, sister Betty Fitzmorris, brother-in-law Warren (Joyce) Patton, stepchildren Nancy (Gary) Boland, Dan (Allison) Reagan, Tim (Nancy) Reagan, John (Paula) Reagan, Brian Reagan, 22 step grandchildren, 5 step great-grandchildren, and special family friends, Deysi & Osvel Calderon. A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, October 17th, at 11:00 a.m. at the Open Door Baptist Church, 350 Chili-Scottsville Road, Churchville. Donations may be made to the Open Door Baptist Church, 350 Chili-Scottsville Rd, Churchville, NY 14428 for Coreluv Orphans.
1932 – 2020, Your whole life is lived in that little dash between birth and death. Tom was my Dad and Dad was a religious man and knew that in God’s greater plan for him, his dash was but a blip when compared to his afterlife. A very important blip, he believed that small little dash would determine his eternal life beyond the physical world. H...e made the most of his dash and has been welcomed into heaven by his proud eternal Father, God. As Tom’s son I am proud of my Father’s life, his “dash”.
Tom was an Army Veteran, Husband, Businessman, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather, Uncle, Brother, Stepfather and a friend to MANY over his nearly 88 years. These are titles listed in obituaries, Tom took these titles seriously. He worked hard throughout his life to support his family. He was a fantastic role model and always treated people fairly in his business and personal life. Growing up in a small town there were few people who didn’t know Tom and fewer that Tom didn’t know. He had a prolific memory when it came to people who came and went through his life. Most times while introducing myself to someone from my Father’s very large circle, the enthusiastic reply I would get is, “Oh your Tom’s son!”. These replies were always accompanied with a beaming smile. A smile that reflected a warm respect for my Dad. This is what made me most proud of him.
It was evidently clear that my Dad was navigating through life leaving a positive impact on all the people that came in and out of his “dash”. He was very social and active with many interests. Church, square dancing, golf, council member, wood carving, band member, homeowner association member, coach, hunting club, property investor and a friend to many.
His dash intersected with so MANY other dashes. He had a rough childhood losing his mother and father at an early age. My mother also had a trying childhood losing her father at an early age. They welcomed me into their dashes through adoption. I never felt different from my sisters or adopted. My Mother passed from Alzheimer’s and near the end we all wondered how aware she was of us at her bedside. My last conversation I had with her (she was unable to speak at this point) I thanked her for adopting me. I told her I had a wonderful life thanks to her and Dad. She turned her head slightly, her eyes lit up and she smiled at me. This was very near the end; I know that God gave her clarity in that brief moment as a gift for both her and I.
It took me a long time to tell Dad this story, he took Mom’s passing very hard. I don’t cry often so when I do, I am a slobbering mess and can’t speak. I feared I wouldn’t be able to get the story out. When I did recently tell him, he told me his only regret in life was not adopting another child because, “I had turned out so good”. He had a big heart and I believe he underestimated the impact he had on me. I had somewhat of a wild childhood, teen years and early 20’s. What kept me even keeled was the fear of disappointing my Dad. Even many of my decisions later in my life were made with this in mind. I never wanted to disappoint him. I can still hear his voice in my head, “If it was me I would do it this way”. God only knows where I’d be without Dad’s influence.
1932 - 2020, visually it just doesn’t seem right that a little dash represents a life lived. As I think back of all the memories of my Dad, I realize how fast life goes by. I believe that the dash is a perfect symbol for life. Not for those who have passed but for those who are still making their dash. It represents how fast life goes by so make the best of it. Dad would agree, he would tell you he had a long happy life, but it went by fast. The last conversation I had with him was on the phone. The last words we said to each other was, “I love you”. Not worst way to complete the merging of our dashes.
Written with love by son, Timothy Fingland