William E. Finley was born Thursday, December 26, 1942, and died on Friday, December 6, 2019, from complications of severe rheumatoid arthritis. William was the second son of Hubert L. Finley and Adelaide E. Finley (nee Cauby) of Pettis County, Missouri. William lived on the family farm near Sedalia, Missouri, while growing up. He attended Smithton High School followed by further education at the University of Missouri-Rolla and Central Missouri University where he was awarded a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1965. He served in the U.S. Air Force for more than 21 years, retiring from active duty as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1988. During his military service, he received additional education in meteorology at the University of Michigan in 1967 and was awarded a master’s degree in meteorology from St. Louis University in 1977. Following active duty retirement from the U.S. Air Force Weapons Laboratory in Albuquerque, NM, he conducted and supported research, development, test, and evaluation activities with a range of aerospace firms supporting flight test, systems developments, and other advisory activities. He founded and operated a small precision machine shop in Albuquerque from 1991 until 2001.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Carol M. Finley in 1991. William’s surviving brother, Leland Finley and sister-in-law, Barbara Finley, live in Riverside, Missouri. William, as a stepfather, is survived by three children. They are Christel Galindo, Jason Chavez, and Kiera Chavez. Four grandsons, Zachary Chavez, Josiah Rios, Santana Rios, and Liam Lucero also survive him. Interment will be held on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, at 10:30 a.m. at Santa Fe National Cemetery, 501 North Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe, NM. A Memorial Service may be scheduled at a later date. Memorial donations in William’s memory may be made to Animal Humane New Mexico, 615 Virginia St SE, Albuquerque, NM.
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