William  Finch

Obituary of William Robert Finch

William Robert Finch, loving and much loved husband, father, and grandfather, passed away on December 9, 2022, at the age of 85. William, known as Bill, is survived by his wife of 27 years, Gay (Sauer); four daughters, Beth, Meg, Camille, and Amy; sons-in-law-, Daniel Chijate and Anthony Jones; grandchildren who include the five children of his daughters (Gig, Antonia, Bernice, Diego and Natalie) and children of Gay’s daughter Wendy (Trever, Tyler and Tori); and his constant canine companion, Gracie. Bill was preceded in death by his first wife, Virginia “Ginger” (Collin); father, Ronald “Ron”; mother, Bernice “Bernie” (Friesner); brother, Thomas; and stepdaughter, Wendy (Sauer) Venegas. Shortly after Bill’s death, his eldest brother, Ronald, also passed away. 

Bill lived a life with many chapters. These included his youth growing up in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan; his marriage to his first wife Ginger, with whom he raised four daughters; his career as a computer engineer; and his marriage and retirement with his second wife Gay, based in Aptos, California, where they enjoyed an active and adventurous life filled with family and friends. 

Bill was born on February 23, 1937, to Ron and Bernice Finch and grew up along with his older brothers, Ron and Tom, in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. The Finches were longtime members of Central Michigan University (CMU) community where Ron Finch, Sr. Was the head football coach and Dean of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. Bernice was a loving wife, mother, grandmother of nine and friend of many. 

Bill, fondly called “Billy Bob” growing up, held the memories of his youth dear to his heart- often recounting stories of his paper route, Saturday afternoons at the movies, softball games and other shenanigans with his boyhood buddies, and being a ‘ballboy’ for his Dad’s CMU football team. Bill’s love of music and dancing also developed during his youth. As a boy, Bill learned to play the piano (mostly by ear) and sang in the church choir. Bill graduated from Mt. Pleasant High School, where baseball and football were his main other interests, and CMU, then did a short stint in the Army. Bill and Ginger then married and started their family together. Bill was an early innovator in the computer industry. With a bachelor’s degree in math and physics (there was no computer science in those days), Bill honed his electronics and engineering skills in the Army. Bill and his young family were then lured to California, where Bill worked at Hughes Aircraft and Novation, a start-up computer company in Los Angeles. IN 1968, Bill and his family moved to the Santa Clara (Silicon) Valley when he joined Hewlett-Packard, where he remained for the rest of his computer engineering career, where he retired in 1994. Bill’s career evolved from working on large mainframe computers to touch-screen PC’s alongside well known entrepreneurs in the computer industry. 

Bill was always a family man. Bill and Ginger raised four strong daughters and the family dog, Pepe—and Bill handled a houseful of women with ease. As a family they spent free time going on summer trips, playing soccer, attending Earthquakes soccer games. Bill coached Amy and Cammie’s soccer team, played the piano after dinner and enjoyed dancing with all his girls. Bill was a wonderful supportive, and proud father and a true friend to his daughters throughout his life. 

Bill and his second wife, Gay met while playing golf in 1995—and they quickly built their life together and became inseparable. They lived in Aptos on the golf course where they met, enjoying time with family and grandchildren, playing and coaching tennis, dancing the night away to the Mike Hadley Band on Friday evenings at the Fish Lady, traveling and relishing the beach and California living... Bill also devoted time and energy to the community. Bill and Gay coached girls’ high school tennis for many years—Bill initially helped Gay coach the Aptos High team and later coached the St. Francis team with Gay’s assistance—and they also ran a summer tennis camp. Bill an Gay received the Golden Whistle Coaching Award from KSBW TV and they were honored by USPTA in 2014 for their long-time service to tennis. Bill also served on the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury for two years and as treasurer of the Rio Del Mar Tennis Club for ten years. Bill continued to play the piano daily throughout his life and also tried his hand at the banjo and ‘gutbucket’. Bill and Gay faced major life and health challenges, including the loss of Gay’s only daughter, cancers, and Alzheimer’s-- and for this reason cherished their life and many joys together all the more. 

Throughout his life, Bill was known for his devotion to his family, work ethic, sense of humor and fun-loving, easy going, warm-hearted nature. Most importantly, Bill was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, and fried--- who gave his love unconditionally. 

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A Memorial Tree was planted for William
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel
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