Leo Finkelstein Jr.

August 24, 1946October 16, 2020

Dr. Leo Finkelstein, Jr., 74, of Beavercreek, OH, passed away on October 16, 2020, after an extended illness.

He is preceded in death by his mother and father, Sylvia and Leo, Sr.; and sister, Patti. Family he leaves behind to cherish his memory include his wife of 51 years, Phyllis; son, Stephen; daughter-in-law, Megan; grandson, Jaxon; as well as other family and friends.

Leo was born in Asheville, NC on August 24th, 1946. He graduated from Lee H. Edwards High School and continued on to receive a B.A. in Radio, Television, and Motion Pictures from the University of North Carolina; an M.A in Speech and Theatre from the University of Tennessee; and a Ph.D. in Communication and Rhetoric from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

A Vietnam War veteran, Leo served 20 years in the United States Air Force, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He subsequently spent 26 years as a Senior Lecturer at Wright State University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, authoring several textbooks during that time. He enjoyed ham radio, electronics, photography, and travel.

A private service will be held at David’s Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family by signing the guestbook at

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to the James and Sharon Brandeberry Endowed Scholarship Fund at


  • Private Graveside Services


Leo Finkelstein Jr.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jennings Mace

October 26, 2020

I'll always link my memories of Leo to the laughter we shared at the USAFA English Department and on the Executive Writing trips. He was an interested, lively companion . . . with a streak of irreverence. . .and he seemed to know something about everything. I will certainly never forget him. Condolences to Phyllis, Stephen, Megan, and Jaxson.

Brian Rigling

October 26, 2020

On behalf of Wright State's College of Engineering and Computer Science, I offer condolences to Dr. Finkelstein's family and friends. He made many contributions and positively impacted countless students during his 26 years at Wright State. He is remembered fondly by his colleagues and will be missed. May his memory be a blessing to all who knew him.

Brian Rigling
Professor and Dean
College of Engineering and Computer Science
Wright State University.

Al & Donna Hansen

October 24, 2020

We were blessed and thankful to have shared part of Leo's life while in Dayton. His thoughtfulness and humor made our life a blessing. We are grateful for his military service and love of family and friends and thankful for our memories.

General Al & Donna Hansen

Jane Gulley

October 21, 2020

To Dr. Finkelstein’s family and friends--
On behalf of the University of Tennessee, please accept our condolences on the passing of Dr. Leo Finkelstein Jr, our graduate and a member of the Volunteer family.
We are sorry for your loss, and we remember with thanks his years of loyal support for his alma mater.
Sincerely yours,
Jane Gulley
Stewardship--UT Foundation
Knoxville, Tennessee

Sam Long Long

October 20, 2020

Leo and I were classmates at UNC-Chapel Hill; we were good friends. I'm very sorry to learn he has passed away. My condolences to his family.

Jo Smith

October 20, 2020

My warmest condolences to sweet Phyllis & family. I had the pleasure of working with Leo in the AFLC command section over 30 years ago. He became a good friend and years later after we both retired, my husband and I would run into him and Phyllis having ice cream at Friendly's on a hot summer afternoon. Phyllis, perhaps Leo and Charlie will find each other at a Heavenly ice cream shop!

Marie Nahikian

October 20, 2020

When you leave high school in 1964, there are many you do not remember. Leo Finkelstein was a classmate I remember so well. Smart, straight forward and with a sense of humor that was sometimes a surprise. I can only imagine how incredulous his students must have been to enjoy learning from such a person. I wish I had known he was at Wright brother-in-law, Gerald Nelms, also a UNC grad only recently retired as a professor who managed the writing center. I am sure that we would have enjoyed knowing each other beyond the years at Lee Edwards.
Marie Nahikian

Tom Sudkamp

October 20, 2020

Always a twinkle in his eyes, a smile for friends, and joke about the events of the day, Leo made the fourth floor of Russ Engineering a great place to spend many years. His friendship was a treasure.

Phyllis and Stephen, I hope the memories of an extraordinary person help to console you now and bring you peace in the future.

Tom Sudkamp

Anne Putnam Hutzel

October 20, 2020

I grew up in the home below Leo's grandmother's. When Leo was visiting, Mrs. Finkelstein would invite us neighborhood kids to enjoy lemonade and cookies. Leo was a part of my bother Jerry's and my youth. We were also together at Lee Edwards when we were in high school. I'm grateful for my memories of him and his family.

Laurel Mayer

October 20, 2020

I had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Finkelstein when we both were on the AFLC staff. He was brilliant, and it was always enlightening to discuss issues with him. My condolences to his family


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