Obituary of Mary Louise Finley
A LIFE WELL LIVED
Mary Louise Jacob Finley was the fourth child born to Clinton and Julia Jacob. She entered this world on May 11, 1942 in Marksville, Louisiana. Her family home and life stage were shared with her five siblings, Cilton, John, Rita, Rosina and Jules. Mary’s early education and spiritual life were formed by her attendance at Holy Ghost Catholic School and Church. She was a graduate of Mary McLeod Bethune High School. It was during her high school years that she met and fell for her soulmate and the love of her life, Izel Finley. Although she had aspirations to follow her older brother to college in Arkansas, her love for Izel was greater. They were married, both 22 years old, in 1963 at Holy Ghost Church and immediately moved to Pineville, Louisiana. Pineville presented many firsts for her. It is the place where she learned to drive and cook her sought after biscuits and grits. She began her first official job at American Box Company and later worked for Baker Manufacturing and Red River Veneer Company as an assembly worker and veneer specialist. Mary and Izel also had their first three children in Pineville, Karen, Stephanie and Ranee.
However, Pineville would not be their home for long. The family of five soon moved to Hempstead, New York to join Izel’s mother and brothers for new adventures in the big city. There they increased their family by two with the birth of Jennifer and Tracy. The girls attended school at Our Lady of Loretto Catholic School, and they were members of the Church. Mary was a full-time mom while Izel and his brothers, Preston and Louis, fulfilled their entrepreneurial spirits by forming a trucking business. They fully immersed themselves in their neighborhood and where known for their block gatherings.
Sadly, New York was not to be their forever home. On August 5, 1975, during one of his trucking runs Izel, as always, never turned away someone in need. He stopped to help a priest who was stranded with a flat tire and was hit and killed by a drunk driver. At 33, Mary was widowed with 5 young children. It would mark the next phase of her life that was built on courage, strength, perseverance, tenacity, and hope. She moved her daughters back to Pineville, Louisiana where she joined her family again and met wonderful friends who lifted and supported her.
In order to make ends meet, she cleaned houses for a period of time after her return, often with her youngest Tracy in tow. A church member and friend noticed her attention to detail and work ethic and referred her to a job as a receptionist for the Rapides Orthopedic Clinic in Alexandria, Louisiana. She later became the receptionist at Red River Cardiology where she remained until her retirement at 75. There she forged a lifelong friendship with Gail and Dr. Joseph Landreneau, along with many of co-workers. Education and spiritual life were important to her, and she made sure that her girls fulfilled the dream that both she and Izel had for them. All of her daughters graduated from Pineville High School, and all are college graduates. Her leadership was even more evident when her daughter Stephanie became the first female United States Attorney in Louisiana history
Mary was a devoted Catholic who attended Sacred Heart Catholic Church and later became an active member at St. Juliana Catholic Church where she was a Eucharistic Minister.
She reveled in being a wife and doted on her husband and children constantly. Mary enjoyed cooking, baking, cleaning, and dancing. Her house was spotless every day. All who encountered Mary became stronger in her presence. Her never give up attitude was a part of everything she touched.
Mary Louise leaves five daughters to cherish her loving memories and build on her legacy: Karen Finley of Dallas, Texas, Stephanie Finley of Lafayette, Louisiana, Ranee Finley of Mabelvale, Arkansas, Jennifer Finley of Houston, Texas, and Tracy Rachal of Pineville, Louisiana. She was the quintessential grandmother who smothered her grandchildren with love and adoration. Often upon entering the house, you would hear her telling them “Hey Darlin and Love you.” She saw them as the extension of her best work and wanted them to have the best of everything: Izel J. Finley, Lilton and Jordan Colbert, and Christopher and Cameron Nash. She is survived by a brother, John Jacob of Pine Bluff, Arkansas and two sisters, Rita Boykin of Alexandria, Louisiana and Rosina Joffrion of Pineville, Louisiana. She has joined her husband, parents, and her brothers, Cilton and Jules, in heaven. Her years on this earth were filled with ups and downs, triumphs and tragedy, but she made sure that it was all tempered with love, faith, and belief in a better tomorrow. Her giving spirit and presence will be missed by a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins. She leaves behind lifelong friendships who became family to her: Emily, Kim and Pursie Boswell, Rose Johnson, Audrey Monette and Ethel Dixon.
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