Lt. Col. Edward Smoot Finley ’37 USAF (Ret.), of North Wilkesboro, N.C., died on July 20. He was born April 6, 1916 in Alexandria, Va., son of Edward G. and Sibyl Smoot Finley 1906. He grew up in North Wilkesboro and graduated from Davidson. Afterwards, he returned to North Wilkesboro, where he was employed by Meadows Mill Company until being ordered to active duty with the Army Air Force in June 1941.
On May 2, 1942, he married Elizabeth Stewart Heath, who preceded him in death in 2008 after 66 years of marriage. During WWII, he served in China Theater of Operation, commanding air bases in Sian, Ankang, and Pai-Shi, under the ultimate command of Gen. Claire Chennault, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel. Returning to civilian life in 1946, he was again employed by Meadows Mill Company as secretary-treasurer and general manager. He served as chairman of the North Wilkesboro Board of Education from 1957-67; president of Wilkes Jaycees; North Wilkesboro Lions Club; vice president of Wilkes Chamber of Commerce; and treasurer of Friends of the Wilkes County Library.
At the North Wilkesboro Presbyterian Church, he has served as deacon, receiving treasurer, elder, clerk of session, and Boy Scout leader. He was a member of the Board of Visitors of Davidson and its Ne Ultra Society. He raised cattle and trees on his Brushy Mountain Farm.
He is survived by Edward S. Finley, Jr. (Virginia Doughton Finley), 2024 White Oak Rd., Raleigh, NC 27608-1450; Ann Finley Reynolds (Fairfax C. Reynolds); five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. He was also preceded in death by a brother, Robert Wood Finley ’41.