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Dave Finley, Springdale Council president, dies

| Thursday, May 29, 2014, 11:45 a.m.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
David Finley at a Springdale Council meeting on April 15, 2014.
Springdale Council President Dave Finley

David Finley was orange-and-black and blue-and-white — even though he wasn't a Springdale native, and never studied at Penn State.

Ken Lloyd met Finley at Springdale sports games some 30 years ago, long before he was mayor and Finley the borough council president. They traveled to State College for Penn State football games, and went to Ann Arbor, Mich., to see the Nittany Lions take on Michigan.

“He was a great Penn State fan. He was a very knowledgeable sports fan. He knew the history of most sports,” Lloyd said. “He was just a good guy. He was not a very political guy. He tried to lead the borough in a do-whatever's-right role.”

David E. Finley died Thursday, May 29, 2014, in Canterbury Place in Pittsburgh from a battle with cancer. He was 72.

Finley was being remembered for his love of sports and the community he served.

“He was a real asset to the community,” said Judge David Sosovicka. A Springdale resident, Sosovicka said he knew Finley for more than 30 years, and attended Springdale Dynamos football and basketball games with him.

“I believe he always tried to do what was right for the citizens of the borough,” Sosovicka said.

Finley was born and raised in Johnstown. He graduated from Bishop McCort High School and John Carroll University.

He was a retired sales manager for R.J. Reynolds.

Finley was a commissioned officer in the Army and was assigned to an airborne infantry division during the Vietnam era.

He was appointed to Springdale Council in February 2009. Later that year, he was elected to council, and again in 2013.

Finley had been a Republican. Lloyd, who was elected mayor in November, said he helped sway him in changing his registration to Democrat.

“Dave and I disagreed on some issues,” Lloyd said. “But he says, when I do disagree with you, you'll always be my friend.

“That's what's wrong with politics today. People become visceral and mean if you disagree with each other. Dave was never like that. Dave and I could disagree, then he'd say, ‘Where do you want to go eat?' ”

When Springdale was recently without a borough manager, Finley was at the borough's office almost every day helping out, Councilman John Molnar said.

“He truly cared for the town. He was a gentleman that did things and didn't look for any recognition,” Molnar said, adding that Finley went through his illness without letting many people know.

“The town lost a good man. I lost a good friend,” Molnar said. “We won't forget him.”

Finley was a member of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Springdale, where he served as a member of the parish council, was a lector and taught religious classes.

“I thought he was a gentle spirit — a very direct spirit,” said the Rev. Ken Kezmarsky of St. Alphonsus. “He let you know what he thinks. He was pretty honest.”

Finley read for Sunday Mass and during the week, and did readings at funerals, Kezmarsky said.

“He was always there. You could always count on him,” Kezmarsky said. “Anything for the church, he was ready to jump in and help out.”

His wife, Carol, said she and her husband appreciated the warm-heartedness of the people they've befriended since moving to Springdale in 1983.

“The people here are so kind and friendly,” she said. “They'll do anything for you. It's like being home.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com. Staff writer Liz Hayes contributed to this report.

The Valley News Dispatch will occasionally run obituary stories on notable local residents. They are news items and as such, no charge is applied. The subjects of these stories are solely the discretion of the editors.

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