DENFORD D FINKE
July 31, 1941 – August 31, 2019
Denford Dale Finke, loving husband, devoted father, and adventurous grandpa “flew West” suddenly on Saturday, August 31, 2019. His passion and livelihood took him to the skies to shape the airline industry by his exemplary work ethic, his consistent desire to learn and improve in flight, and his love and respect for co-workers and passengers alike. Denny flew as a First Officer and Captain for Frontier Airlines, and a Captain for Continental Airlines during the course of his 31 year career as a pilot. He was preceded in death by his parents Emerson and Audre Finke of Rochester Minnesota. He will be greatly missed by his wife, Sharon Lea Finke (Gerth), sons, Kevin D. Finke (Sonja), and Mark D. Finke (Buffie), and daughter Tara Lea Crowley (Jamie), grandchildren Chad, Emma, Alec, and Sammi, as well as countless others who’s lives were impacted by his gentle manner. Denny enjoyed gardening, hiking, biking, skiing, and swimming. A Memorial Service was held on September 4th for family and friends to celebrate having him in their lives.
- Sharon Lea Finke, Wife
- Tara Lea Crowley, Daughter
- Kevin Dale Finke, Son
- Mark Dale Finke, Son
- Emerson Finke, Father (deceased)
- Audre Finke, Mother (deceased)
- Grandkids Chad E. Finke, Emma V. Finke, Alec S. Finke and Sammi J. Finke
- Funeral Service Wednesday, September 4, 2019
DENFORD D FINKE
Pat (Finke) Mayer
September 7, 2019
Denny was the most fun cousin to have around. Growing up in Minnesota, he would travel up to the Twin Cities to spend a few days with us at our lake cottage. I remember him teaching us to play cards, monopoly and making us stick horses to ride all over the five acres at the lake. He and my dad cut out horse heads for the sticks and Denny figured out a way to make silky manes from the innards of white clotheslines. We had the best looking horses in town thanks to Denny’s ingenuity and effort. When we were struggling to get the knots out of our hair, he’d help us, careful if he hit what he called “snags”. We laughed at his cute way of refering to our snarls. The neighbor girls loved him as did I. He was so kind and a willing servant of others.
I respected him growing up as he had a persevering love for flying. But initially he could not get hired because of his eye sight. So even though he never gave up the dream of flying for a commercial carrier, he made use of the “waiting time” by going back to school, excelling as he chocked up the degrees. Then the FAA changed the vision requirements. They allowed pilots to have corrected vision with glasses to qualify. Denny passed with “flying colors”. Our family rejoiced at that wonderful news as my dad said he’d never met a kid who loved flying as much as Denny. My mother always said that once flying got in their blood it never left. It sure never left Denny’s. He even passed on the flying gene to his family. I love the picture of Denny sitting in the captain’s seat and Kevin in the copilot’s seat. There is also a cool picture of 3 generations of pilots in the family starting with Denny’s dad, Emerson, then Denny and last generation, Kevin. When Tara started flying I bet she has a picture in uniform with her dad, and maybe with her brother, Kevin, too. At least Denny had one son, Mark, who had the good sense to keep his feet on the ground. Denny was remarkable. Many of us will miss him greatly.
September 6, 2019
Dad teaching me the basics of aerodynamics!
September 6, 2019
Today I say good-bye to my father. He passed away unexpectedly exactly 1 month past his 78th birthday. A great Dad that was always there for me growing up. This gentleman pilot taught me how to fly airplanes and how to go over and above the job and respect the entire crew and passengers. He showed me how to be adventurous, how to do electrical & car work, and many other things I will never forget. We flew together as Captain/Co-pilot on six occasions on the MD-80 at both Frontier and Continental Airlines. A excellent Dad, always there for me! My concerts, football games, my cub scout leader, as well as MANY other things. A great achievement we did together was to reach the peak of Longs Peak in Colorado.