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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

John Finn, RIP

John Finn, RIP
I recently lost a long time friend, John Finn, to cancer.  John was above all things, a Christian gentleman.  I was blessed to have John as a friend.

The first time I heard of John Finn was when I was active in Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) in about 1965.  John, a proud Texas native, was living in the San Diego area and his business card listed him as some sort of regional director of YAF.  I believe it was at that time that John was working with Ted Loeffler on a special test project to move college students to the right by sending them a series of conservative books.  Throughout John’s life he was always open to new ideas.  Even when he reached his seventies, John was ahead of the technology and idea curve.

I probably first met John when he and his wife, Sherry, were living in the Los Angeles area.  John had started a company, INFOMAT, to market direct mail lists and to raise money for great causes.  Located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, INFOMAT was always on the leading edge of using technology to raise funds for the conservative movement.  Of course, John gave me his card listing him as the President of INFOMAT.

But my very favorite card of John’s said simply, “John Finn, Entrepreneur” with his address and telephone number, of course.  And indeed John Finn was truly an American entrepreneur.  John’s fertile and creative mind led him “Edison like” to explore and dabble in a myriad of entrepreneurial ventures.  I’m sure I don’t know them all, but just a few of what I remember include brokering radio stations, construction of small hydro electric plants, selling gold mines, and my absolute favorite, selling a ship of cow manure to India!  Perhaps it was just fertilizer, but I remember it as cow manure.

When I would visit with John on my trips to see clients in California, he always came to the meetings with 40 questions or ideas.  It was never 39 or 41, always 40.  These were challenging questions and cutting edge ideas.  Yes, some were “out there” but all were thought provoking.

John always had his ear to the “railroad tracks” looking out to get on board the next great idea.  He also knew what was happening down the street from me in Virginia before I had any inkling what was going on.  Everyone I ever met who knew John Finn liked him.  He always had a smile on his face and words of encouragement.

He was not, in spite of his great inquisitive mind and tireless energy, a businessman or entrepreneur first.  His family came well before his personal ventures and his faith in God before that.  And there was always time for working on behalf of the causes he believed in.  He and his entire family strongly believed in the right of an unborn child to live and they were not hesitant to give their time and their treasure in support of that noble cause.  But no matter how strongly John believed in a cause, he always supported it with that special smile on his face.

I miss that smile.  And I look forward to enjoying it again when we meet in heaven.

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