[vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″]On 22 Jan. 2015, Past Chief Commander Raymond A. Finley Jr., SN, 93, was laid to rest in Chatham, New Jersey.
Ray is survived by Blanche, his wife of 69 years; sons, Raymond A. Finley III and James E. Finley; daughters, Margaret F. Paton and Patricia J. Finley; nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Ray became a Sea Scout in 1936 and earned Sea Scouting’s highest honor, the Quartermaster Award, in 1939. He met his future wife, Blanche Kopper, at a Sea Scout/Girl Mariners sailing camp.
Ray graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from Rutgers University, and as a U.S. Navy lieutenant during World War II, Ray served in the Pacific aboard the destroyer USS Monssen.
After the war, he married Blanche and enjoyed a long career at Linde Griffith Construction Co. of Newark, New Jersey.
An avid sailor and long-time New York Yacht Club member, Ray cruised with his family aboard their sloop, Shamrock. In 1962 his passion for boating safety led him to join Lackawanna Sail & Power Squadron/4, where he taught various courses, including Sail. He became squadron commander in 1971 and district commander in 1976.
As tall ships coordinator for the U.S. Bicentennial celebration Operation Sail 1976, Ray planned and plotted the safe passage of all 21 tall ships under bridges down the East River and into the Hudson on a single tide. He received a New Jersey safe boating award for his efforts during OpSail.
After serving on the national Bridge, Ray became Chief Commander from 1982-83. On 11 Sept. 1982, he called a special meeting of the Governing Board to vote on two amendments to the USPS constitution and bylaws.
The first deleted all references to gender and removed the word “male,” allowing women to become fully participating USPS members. The second amendment created a family membership plan for spouses and children 12–25.
In 2004 Ray became the first adult recipient of the eponymous Finley Sea Scout Service Award. During his 54-year membership in USPS, the emeritus member served the organization tirelessly and earned 52 merit marks.[/vc_column][/vc_row]