Those We Lost
John W. Finn
John W. Finn, World War II veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, died on May 27 in Chula Vista, California. He was 100. Finn was the last survivor of the fifteen Navy men who received the Medal of Honor for their service during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and had been the oldest living recipient of the medal.
Born on July 23, 1909 in Los Angeles, Finn dropped out of school after the seventh grade and enlisted in the Navy when he was seventeen.
Already a fifteen-year veteran of the Navy, Finn was at home with his wife Alice on December 7, 1941 when he heard the sound of machine guns just outside Kaneohe Bay Naval Air Station. Finn quickly drove to the station and spent the next two and a half hours firing at Japanese planes that were part of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was hospitalized with serious injuries the following afternoon. On September 15, 1942, Chief Finn received the Medal of Honor aboard the USS Enterprise in Pearl Harbor.
Finn retired from the Navy in 1956 with the rank of Lieutenant and moved to a cattle ranch in Pine Valley, California. He is survived by a son, Joseph. – Aliah O’Neill
Gerald W. Heaney
Midwestern federal appeals court judge Gerald Heaney died June 22 at age 92. He served more than four decades on the bench and championed the desegregation of schools. Beginning in 1981, Heaney wrote 27 opinions that oversaw the integration of schools in St. Louis. In 1967, he wrote the 1967 ruling that reversed a lower court’s decision to dismiss complaints of racial discrimination in schools in Altheimer, Arkansas. Heaney also authored a decision that granted school newspapers First Amendment protection, which the Supreme Court overturned.
A well-known liberal, Heaney’s views were shaped by his upbringing in Goodhue, Minnesota, where his father William owned a butcher shop and provided for the hungry during the Depression. Heaney graduated from the University of Minnesota and earned his law degree there in 1941, then enlisted in the Army and served as a first lieutenant. He became involved in local politics and joined the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, and was nominated by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966 to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Heaney is survived by his wife, son, daughter, sister, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. – Kara Rota
Known as a vibrant and adventurous Hollywood personality, producer Peter Keefe passed away at his sister’s home on May 27th. The Rochester native was best known for his work on the Voltron series and often credited as the inspiration for Pokemon and Power Rangers.
Keefe lived in Los Angeles for most of his life and was a frequent traveler. Among his favorite destinations was Ireland where he often stayed for weeks at a time. Keefe started out as a producer on a live martial arts television series, a show he hosted alongside Chuck Norris. He was 57 when he succumbed to cancer and is survived by his four siblings, and his mother, Anne, of St. Louis. – Tara Dougherty
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