|Born on July 27, 1915 in the city she grew to love, New Orleans, Hazel Kieffer Finnin was baptized into the Christian faith in the Evangelical and Reformed tradition. Graduation from the New Orleans Business and Commercial High School brought opportunity for career challenge as a bookkeeper and finance manager for several small businesses. On February 12, 1936 Hazel married William M. Finnin. Their marriage grew into maturity across fifty-four years and included the birth and parenting of their two children, William and Helene.
As supportive co-worker, Hazel, together with Bill, founded Finnin’s Furniture Store in New Orleans in the early 1940s. She provided active encouragement when Bill was called to the Methodist ministry in the early 1950s. Side by side they served churches in rural and urban settings for more than 25 years. Always the “financial officer” of the Finnin household, Hazel’s work with Browne-McHardy Clinic in New Orleans in the 1960s enabled Bill’s studies at LSU- NO and at Perkins School of Theology and made possible educational opportunities for her chil-dren. Although she never perceived herself as “a traditional parsonage spouse,” Hazel partici-pated fully in the life of each local church where Bill served as pastor. A devoted student of scripture, she employed her analytic skills to Biblical study and developed workshops and semi-nars on the Gospel writings and on Paul’s epistles, integrating contemporary Biblical scholarship into her presentations and writings.
In retirement, Hazel not only managed the family household but served as well as bookkeeper and tough-minded “finance officer” for Finnin’s Antiques, the retirement business project that fulfilled a dream she had shared with Bill for years during their active ministry. In 1986, while preparing for knee-replacement surgery, Hazel was diagnosed with cancer, underwent arduous chemo and radiation treatment, and successfully fought that intruder to a standoff. In Amite Nursing home during the final years of her life, Hazel learned anew the meaning of caring. This time, however, instead of providing care to others she received the care of family and friends herself. On Wednesday, December 12, 1990, after a brief battle with pneumonia and only five weeks after Bill’s death, Hazel moved peacefully from life to death. She lives in our memories and rests now in the eternal presence of God.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1991, p. 235 By William M. Finnin, Jr., Th.D.|