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Former EC member Bill Finley dies of cancer at 76

FREE UNION, Va. (BP)–William Walter Finley Jr., a recent member of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, died at his home in Free Union, Va., Aug. 25 after a battle with cancer. He was 76.

Finley served two terms on the Executive Committee, from 1996 to 2004. Before that, he spent 20 years in international work with the World Health Organization and the World Bank, serving in Nigeria, Brazil, Jamaica, India and Thailand to develop clean water systems in impoverished areas.

A native of Scottsville, Va., Finley served in World War II as part of the U.S. Army’s Italian occupation forces. He then earned a degree in civil engineering from Virginia Tech in 1952 and was involved in several major construction projects, including the highest dam in the eastern United States, the first nuclear power plant in the states and the first NASA tracking station.

Finley earned a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Virginia Tech and began lecturing in the University of Virginia’s engineering department while working for a private engineering firm and then for the Environmental Protection Agency.

After his international work, Finley retired to his farm in Free Union to raise cattle and volunteer in the community and at Free Union Baptist Church, where he was a deacon. Finley served for eight years on the Albemarle County School Board and eight years on the Albemarle County Planning Commission.

Survivors include his wife, Mae; six children; 11 grandchildren; and three brothers and two sisters.

“We miss him but he gave us such an incredible life that we will celebrate him as much as we mourn,” his son, John, wrote in an e-mail to Baptist Press.

Services include visitation at Teague Funeral Home in Virginia Aug. 27 and a funeral at Free Union Baptist Church Aug. 28.

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