Phillip Reid Finger

image of Phillip Reid Finger

Phillip Reid Finger

Phillip Reid Finger passed away peacefully on September 21, 2017 with his family by his side.

Phil was born to Henry Reid Finger and Norma Laura VanBuskirk on February 9, 1941 in St. Joseph, Missouri. Phil’s family moved to Oklahoma when his dad was was transferred by Phillips Petroleum Co. and many of his fondest childhood memories were about the times spent on his grandmother’s farm. When Phil was nine years old, his family moved to Yakima, Washington. He graduated from Eisenhower High School in 1959 and then received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. He later earned his Master’s degree from Central Missouri State University.

Phil was proud of his military service, serving first as a lieutenant, then a captain in the United States Air Force. He served predominantly in Thailand during the Vietnam conflict and shared many stories of adventure with his family over the years. This was an important and meaningful time in his life and Phil was very proud of his service to his country.

After Phil left the military he began his working career at Bellevue Community College in the audio-visual department. His future wife, Dorothy Lund, was a student at the college and worked in the library adjacent to his department. They married on September 4, 1977 in Bellevue, Washington. Phil later began working as a Financial Aid Supervisor at the college and financial aid became his life’s career. He advanced to become a Financial Aid Assistant Director at North Seattle Community College and later the Financial Aid Director at Yakima Valley Community College, Seattle Central Community College and Shoreline Community College. Phil’s passion was to help students succeed as they pursued their education and their dreams.

Phil enjoyed numerous hobbies over the years including photography, astronomy, dance, collecting coins, stamps, and other memorabilia, following Olympic events, helping with local track and field events, cooking for his family, and anything Hobbit or Sherlock Holmes. After his retirement, Phil was able to spend more time cultivating his interests.

Although accomplished in his military and career goals, Phil’s heart belonged to his family. They always had his unconditional love and unwavering support. Recently Phil and his wife Dorothy celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary together. He is survived by his loving wife, Dorothy, and his three sons, Derek, Kevin (Tomoe), and James, all of whom will miss him greatly and will hold him forever in their hearts.  He was also delighted to be called Jiji by his two beloved grandchildren, Hunter Shougo and Sophia Rio. Finally Phil leaves behind a younger brother, Michael Van Finger (Sue), his nephew Shawn, his niece Shannon, and his much-loved cousins, Glenda, Sandra, and Mary and their extended families.

A special thank-you to the caring professionals at Harborview Hospital who comforted Phil’s family and saw them through the difficult decisions they had to make with respect and compassion.

A celebration of Phil’s life and service to country will be planned at a later date for immediate family and friends. Phil was a steadfast supporter of many causes. Remembrances in Phil’s name can be made to two of his favorite causes:

The National Audubon Society,

United Service Organization (USO),


“I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay…small acts of kindness and love.”  -Gandalf

5 Responses to “Phillip Reid Finger”

  • Tim & Shelley Thelen says:

    Shelley & I are so very sorry for your loss Dorothy. May the comfort of your family help you in the days ahead. Be well.

  • Megan Moyer says:

    Dear Dorothy,
    What a beautiful tribute to such an amazing man. You did such a wonderful job enlightening those of us who didn’t know Phil but feel connected through you. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers…hugs.

  • Aura A Erickson says:

    We are saddened by Phil’s passing. I remember him as a patient and loving father. He was a good listener and dedicated to his family. I will miss him for the friend he was to our family. Our hearts and prayers are with the Finger family.

  • Ken Phipps says:

    I am so sorry to hear of Phil’s passing. Phil and I were classmates and friends at Eisenhower High and graduated together.

    Ken Phipps

  • David Holmes says:

    I met Phil at Bellevue College in 1972. Later when I was employed at Shoreline Community College we were both amused to get pleased to see each other again. I always enjoyed his friendship way back then and I am sorry to hear of his passing. A funny side note is that he was the narrator of my final project in the Media Tech Program in 1976.

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