Bernard “Bernie” Finch, 94, of Doylestown, Pennsylvania died at Wesley Enhanced Living on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.
He was born in Philadelphia, at home, to the lateGeorge and Katherine (Opalisky) Finch, who dearly loved their family, valued hard work and had a steadfast integrity stemming from their deep Ukrainian Orthodox Catholic faith. The third of five brothers and one sister, Bernie fondly recalled growing up on Abbotsford Avenue in Philadelphia and then on Mt. Airy Avenue in Germantown. He loved playing baseball and football in the local park with his brothers and friends as they blared Frank Sinatra out of the window of one of their nearby homes.
After graduating from Germantown High, he worked for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin and studied business at La Salle (College) University before his entry into the Army in March 1951. In July 1951, he completed The Southeastern Signal School at Camp Gordon, Georgia, and was shortly thereafter stationed in Stuttgart Germany as part of the Allied occupation after WWII. He proudly served as Sergeant, Chief of Cryptography and Signal Communications for three years, where he handled and interpreted classified communications among the Allied forces. His love for sports along with his easy way and quiet leadership style found him playing full-back and as captain of his Company’s award-winning football team. He traveled all through Europe, while stationed in Germany, learning French and German. Most importantly, he met his first wife, Nan DiValerio, through a fellow soldier and friend he served with. In February 1953, Bernie was honorably released from active duty and transferred to the Reserve Component of the Marines, servicing airplanes, until 1958.
Upon his arrival home in February of 1953, Nan and Bernie had a whirlwind romance that had begun through international letter exchanges. They married only six months later, on October 17, 1953, in Glenside, PA. Together, they raised five children over 49 years of a marriage filled with faith, love, laughter, tears, celebrations and a whole lot of family. Nearly 40 of those years were spent on a beautiful farm in Plumsteadville, PA, which they filled with memories of milestones, holidays, cookouts, gardens, pets and family and friends. Their family was most important to them and their legacy of five children: Michael (Marianne), Kathy Ann (Phillip-deceased), Jeffrey (Kathryn), Bernard Jr. (Patti Ann) and Amanda (Keith); thirteen grandchildren: Benjamin Winans, Spencer Winans, Chelsea Gottfried (Will), Alexander Finch (Laurie), Maxwell Finch (Sara), Martin Finch, Nathaniel Finch, Alyssa Finch, Chandler Finch, Macy Finch, Emily Mandia, Madelyn Mandia, and Abigayle Mandia; and seven great-grandchildren: Liam Winans, Brianna Cozer, Wyatt Finch, Theo Finch, Teddy Gottfried, Evangeline Finch, Henry Finch was their greatest pride and joy.
After Nan’s passing in 2002, Bernie was blessed to find companionship and love with his second wife, Judith Scharlach Weir. They were married on September 16, 2004, and enjoyed the beach, their families, playing cards with friends and many laughs over their 19 years together.
Bernie was a generous, kind, quiet man with an incredible sense of humor and a strong faith through to his final days. His integrity, warm smile, strong handshake, and deep love of and pride in his family were evident to all who knew him. He will be deeply missed and forever loved by his family and anyone lucky enough to have spent some time with him.
He is predeceased by his four brothers: George Jr., Mark (Dorothy), Raymond (Lynn), and Leon (Joan). His sister, Georgia Arnold (Tripp) lives in New Jersey.
Relatives and friend are invited to his interment at 9 a.m., Thursday, November 16, 2023 in Washington Crossing National Cemetery, 850 Highland Road, Newtown (must arrive by 8:45 a.m.) following by his memorial service at 11 a.m. at Doylestown United Methodist Church, 320 East Swamp Road, Doylestown, PA 18901 where the family will greet guests from 10 a.m., until the time of the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Bernie’s name may be made to: Travis Manion Foundation, 164 East State Street, Doylestown, PA 18901 or Doylestown United Methodist Church at the address above.