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Old 06-04-2010, 05:50 PM   #40
AmigoKumeyaay
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Services for Lt. John Finn

Lt. John Finn Laid to Rest next to his Wife Alice at Campo Indian Reservation Cemetary June 3, 2010

Family and friends bid farewell to John Finn - SignOnSanDiego.com

Sailors performed a 21-gun salute and a single bugler played taps as Finn’s flag-draped casket was carried to its final resting place. Fighter jets flew overhead in a missing-man formation.

A Navy honor guard lifted the flag from the casket and folded it into a triangle. Then Branch presented it to Joseph Finn, John and Alice’s son.

Finn chose to be buried at the tribal cemetery — where his wife of 67 years is also at rest — as a nod to his longtime bond with the Indians of East County.

After retiring from the Navy as a lieutenant in 1947 after 21 years of active-duty service, he and Alice settled in Live Oak Springs on a 90-acre ranch.

With just one child of their own, the couple decided to take in the five boys from nearby tribes.

“He helped a lot of people, not just on the reservation,” said Nicholas Elliott, who, at 13, was the first local Indian boy to join the Finn household.

Thanks to their help, Elliott, now 64, finished high school and joined the Army. His brother, Leroy, recalls that local Indians were struggling financially when the family arrived. Finn knew that and would go to the reservations and offer to buy used machinery at above-market prices.

“When he first arrived, we didn’t know about what he’d done” in World War II, Leroy Elliott recalled. “All we knew was he was a good man and had a good heart.”

Singers and dancers from four East County reservations gave Finn a traditional native send-off at the cemetery, where as many as 500 people gathered.

“It is an honor to have him in our cemetery,” said Leroy Elliott, now the Manzanita tribal chairman. “It was an honor for us to know him.”

The day’s events showed the multiple facets of Finn’s life: the military hero, the tribal friend and the private man who enjoyed tinkering with machines at his ranch while wearing a Stetson and cowboy boots.

PHOTO GALLERY

Oldest Medal of Honor Recipient John Finn's Funeral
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