Don A. Finefrock
April 26, 1921 ‒ June 14, 2008
Naples, FL and Mansfield, Ohio
MANSFIELD: Don A. Finefrock, 87, of Naples, Florida, and formerly of Marion Avenue, Mansfield, died Saturday afternoon June 14, 2008 in Naples.
The retired Mansfield funeral director, child-welfare advocate and philanthropist was born April 26, 1921 in Mansfield to John H. and Sarah (Honeywell) Finefrock and was raised on Fourth Street.
Don was graduated from Mansfield Senior High School in 1939, and attended Denison University. He was drafted into the U.S. Army and served three and a half years in Burma during WWII.
Following the war, he returned and was graduated from The Cleveland College of Embalming in 1946.
Though Don informally began working with the family firm by driving ambulance at the age of 15, in 1948 he joined his family’s funeral home business: J.H. Finefrock & Sons, originally located on Fourth Street. Along with his father and brother, John H. Finefrock, Jr., he moved the business to an imposing white mansion located on the corner of Marion Avenue and Maple Street, formerly owned by George W. Stephens. The stately white building was enlarged in 1961.
Recognized for his striking white hair, dapper attire, and gregarious personality, Don lead a family-owned-and-operated team of professional directors and staff, that were acknowledged throughout the region for setting the standard in funeral service. The Finefrock name became synonymous with excellence.
As a Mansfield native, Don knew the importance of investing in his community. Children and services to them had always been close to his heart. His service to Richland County Children Services and its predecessor, the Richland County Children’s Home spanned nearly three decades. He accepted a position on the board of the Richland County Children’s Home in 1958 when it’s annual budget was a mere $100,000. During his tenure, ten levies were passed, the agency grew in size, scope and caseload, built Downs Residence Hall and Newhope School. He served as Chairman of the Board for five years. Don also served a couple years on the board of Newhope during the transition period when it was still affiliated with Children’s Services. During his 29 years on the Children Services board, the budget grew to over $2 million.
Quoted on his community service to benefit children, Finefrock said “I feel that work is more important to me than anything else a person can do. As long as you’re helping neglected, dependent children, how basic can your religion be? I’ve felt strongly about that.”
His profession recognized a leader as well. In 1976 he was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Ohio State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors of Ohio, serving as the Board President several terms. It was under Don’s leadership that the state began to license funeral home facilities.
Don served on the National Council of Funeral Service Examining Boards, and was a member of National Selected Morticians, Ohio Funeral Directors Association and National Funeral Directors Association.
He served on the vestry of Grace Episcopal Church, and was a member of Westbrook Country Club.
Don was a member of Masonic Lodge #35, Al Koran Shrine of Cleveland, and past president of Mansfield Shrine Club.
An avid golfer, “well, I’m not any good, but I’ve played a long time,” he retired to Naples, Florida.
He is survived by his wife Nancy (Roth) Finefrock, whom he married December 13, 1966; a son Don S. “Chip” Finefrock of Miami, Florida; daughters Susan J. Finefrock and Lori Finefrock both of Worthington and Lynn Finefrock and Mike Bartfay of Delaware; a son-in-law David Joslyn of Oak Park, Illinois; grandchildren Christopher Joslyn, Mark Joslyn, Alec Bartfay, and twins Hannah Bartfay and Jake Bartfay; and a sister Carolyn Beckstett of Medina.
He was preceded in death by his first wife Marjorie (Boals) Finefrock on July 29, 1964; a daughter Kathleen A. Finefrock on June 2, 2000; his sister Virginia G. Finefrock Kirby on April 25, 2003; and his brother John H. Finefrock, Jr.
The family will receive friends Wednesday, June 18, 2008 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Finefrock Chapel of the Marion Avenue Snyder Funeral Home (Former Finefrock Funeral Home). The funeral service will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. in the funeral home. The Rev. David S. Sipes. Rector Emeritus, will officiate. Burial will follow in Mansfield Cemetery.
Snyder Funeral Homes is honored to serve the Finefrock Family.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Finefrock Family Fund of The Richland County Foundation to Benefit Richland County Children Services.
To send a condolence online, you may visit: www.snyderfuneralhomes.com