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Don's Story

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Donald Edward Finley master gardener, beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather left the earth he loved so much on October 9, 2017 after a lengthy illness. He was born May 28th, 1930 to Mayme and Harmon Finley in the kitchen of their farmhouse in Georgetown, IL.
He leaves his wife of 61 years, Audrey (Donnellan) Finley, a son, Robert Finley and his wife Pamela (Wilson) of Brownsburg, IN, a daughter Catherine (Finley) Dolen and her husband John of Falmouth, MA, grandchildren Evan and Lilly Finley of Brownsburg, IN, Laura (Schwamb) Holbrook of Carmel, IN, Erica Dolen of Needham, MA and a great grandson Branson Holbrook. Don, was predeceased by his sister Jean Alice (Finley) Sprouls.
Growing up in Georgetown, Don ran track and played basketball during high school. He was very active in FFA and was salutatorian of his Class of 1948. Don grew up milking cows before going to school each day. Summers, he and his dad baled hay all over Vermillion County IL., earning money for college. He graduated from Blackburn College with an associate's degree, and then enrolled at the Univ. of IL. After two short years, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served his time in Korea as a jeep mechanic and cook.
Don returned from Korea and finished his Bachelor's, and then a Master's of Science degree in Agronomy at the University of Illinois. It was there where he met his wife, over a fruit fly experiment in the lab.
After graduation, he went to work for Pioneer Hi-Bred Corn Company in Iowa. His job then moved his family through the years to Nebraska, Delaware, and Indiana, with winter trips to Jamaica and Florida as he followed sorghum and corn diseases breeding stronger disease resistant hybrids.
Don was an active member of the Society of Friends (Quakers) and served as Yearly Meeting Leader in Nebraska and Delaware.
After retiring from Pioneer in the 1980's, he and Audrey moved to Falmouth, MA where he worked for H.V. Lawrence florist as a bookkeeper. They then moved to Virginia and finally settled Indianapolis, and then Brownsburg. With each move he found nurseries to work in and share his knowledge. In the early 2000's he worked at Sundown Nursery in Carmel. Locals would search him out for specialty help with their growing problems. It was during this time he perfected his penuche and caramel corn recipes to the delight of his grandchildren.
The private family burial at the Indiana Veterans Cemetery was on October 16th, 2017, in Madison, let Don return to the Ohio River valley area where he spent so much time researching corn diseases.
Published on January 2, 2018
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