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Finks, P. David

finksJune 10, 2009
Rochester, NY

P. David Finks, 79, a resident of Carolina Trace for 15 years, died Wednesday (6/10/09) at the E. Carlton Powell Hospice Center in Lillington after months of declining health.

He was born in Rochester, NY, the son of Perry D. and Frances Gillard Finks on Feb. 28, 1930, graduated in 1956 from St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester and served as a priest of the Rochester Diocese until 1973.  In addition to two parishes, he taught theology and social ethics in high school and college.

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen appointed Finks vicar of urban ministry and executive director of the office of social ministry.  In that role, he worked with Saul Alinsky, the creator of community organizing, who had been hired by the Christian churches to help Rochester’s black community organize.  Finks later wrote the first biography of Alinsky, The Radical Vision of Saul Alinsky.  During three years on the staff of the U.S. Catholic (Bishops) Conference in Washington D.C., Finks helped create the Campaign for Human Development, the national church’s primary funding source for social justice work.

After resigning from the active priesthood, Finks taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Notre Dame University while earning a PhD in urban sociology through Union Graduate School.

He married Christy C. Bulkeley, publisher of the local newspaper, Sept. 6, 1975,  in Saratoga Springs NY.  They moved to Danville IL in 1976 where his volunteer work included  serving on the local symphony board, creating and managing a guardian ad litem system of oversight for children who were wards of the district court.  After moving back to Rochester in 1985, Finks created and managed the Downtown Community Forum for St. Mary’s Church.  He also served on the diocesan social justice board and the board of St. Bernard’s Institute, successor to his seminary.
In Sanford, Finks served on the boards of Heart of Carolina Jazz Society and the Lee County Community Orchestra; led Bible study groups at the Trace and St. Stephen church; continued the Christmas Eve and Easter Sunrise services at the Trace after death of the founder, Chaplain Carl McNally; wrote program notes for the Temple Theatre playbill; was a guardian ad litem for the Juvenile Court; and participated in the Men’s Prayer Breakfast at St. Luke Church.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by sisters Elizabeth Thornton,  Margaret (Jim) Miller, and Marie (John) Schopp of the Rochester NY area; Theresa Klem of  Daytona Beach FL; brothers Anthony (Kathie) Finks and Gerard (Judy Rinebold) Finks of the Rochester area;  step-mother Mabel Finks and step-sisters Jennifer (Jim) Exton and Margaret (Larry) Boehme of the Rochester area; many nieces and nephews.