Virtual Celebration of Life Gathering
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
7:00 PM CDT
Tuesday, August 11, 7-8pm CENTRAL (5-6 pm PACIFIC)
Please use the Zoom link above to access the Virtual Celebration for Chris Finn.
The family of Chris Finn invites you to join a Virtual Celebration of Life Gathering on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 - Chris Finn Day in the City of Oakland.
The celebration will include a welcome, eulogy, photos, thoughts of reflection, video and closing prayers.
Donations in Chris' name may be made to directly Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP) Adaptive Sports and Recreation: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/borp
If you'd like to share your thoughts of reflection for Chris during the celebration, please email finn.rebecca(at)gmail(dot)com no later than Monday, August 10 to request sharing time. 3 minutes will be afforded to each person.
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
10:00 AM CDT
St Monica Catholic Church
5681 N Santa Monica Blvd
Whitefish Bay, WI 53217
Family and friends will gather for a Memorial Mass at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Due to COVID-19 current protocols for masks and social distancing will be observed. To protect everyone, people with compromised conditions or if you are not feeling well, we ask that you not attend.
Life Story / Obituary
Christopher (Chris) Edwin Finn, age 48, passed away on June 16th, 2020 at his residence in San Leandro of natural causes. Chris was born in St. Michael Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 29, 1971 to parents Corinne Mary Finn (nee Skowron) and William James Finn, Sr. The second child of four, Chris was frequently referred to by his mother as her “sunshine”.
He attended Saint Monica Grade School near his parents’ home in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. Before graduating from Marquette University High School in 1989 he participated in many intramural sports. One of his proudest achievements in high school was helping found the Kairos, a student-led retreat program at Marquette High in 1988 that lasts until this day, 30 years later.
He attended the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, starting in 1989. While at UW-LaCrosse, Chris continued his leadership role in many capacities, as an RA in dormitories, in student government and in the ranger division of the campus ROTC, where he received numerous commendations and recognition for his achievements.
In the winter of 1992, at the age of 21, Chris suffered a spinal cord injury to his cervical fourth and fifth vertebra causing a paralysis that limited his physical mobility, and requiring the use of a powered wheelchair. While his injury and resulting disability changed his physical condition, Chris’ determination, focus, willpower and love defined his life.
The injury interrupted his college career, but he returned to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse with a Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation in 1996. Four years later, in 2000, he achieved his Master of Science in Educational Psychology/School Counseling from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.
Throughout his recovery, physical rehabilitation and post-graduate work, he kept a small button pinned to the backpack he carried on his wheelchair. It read: “Piss on Pity”. That was everything you needed to know before talking with Chris.
In 2001, Chris left Wisconsin for San Leandro, CA to be with Robin Chinn, his partner for nearly 10 years.
Chris dove into California life with the vigorous leadership he showed in college, establishing many of the roles he maintained until his passing:
• President of the Board of Directors for CRIL (Community Resources for Independent Living)
• Vice Chair and Commissioner for the City of Oakland Mayor’s Commission on Persons with Disabilities
• Head Power Soccer Coach, Bay Area Outreach Recreation Program (BORP)
Chris advanced disability rights through government and community action.
Playing power soccer, Chris quickly achieved his childhood dream of being a professional soccer player. In 2005, all in the same year, he was selected to the USA National Power Soccer team, voted Defensive MVP for the Power Soccer World Invitational, and selected to be the USA representative for the International rules committee. He came on strong. He was impressive both on and off the court.
Fueled by the power of possibility and the vision of achievement, Chris led the first United States Power Soccer team to a world cup victory on the international stage in Japan in 2007. And to prove it wasn’t an accident, he led the US team to a second world cup championship in Paris, France in 2011. Chris was a fierce competitor, but as he said in the pre-game huddle before the final game of the tournament in a Paris arena: “Find the love…find the love, and you will win.” Because Chris lived his love, all over the world, players, teammates, friendly rivals, co-workers and peers…are able.
After achieving success in so many areas of his life, Chris turned to a more personal mission - to walk again.
From the most advanced therapy for regaining bodily mobility, to sound and color therapy, deep meditation and nutrition, Chris explored many pathways to reactivate nerves and muscles damaged from his spinal cord injury. He shared his journey on social media intimately, with all the ups and downs. His posts drew in and inspired hundreds of people who felt his story move them, with or without a disability.
Ultimately the Lord had other plans for Chris, and he passed from our world surrounded by many loving hands and hearts, including his sister Andrea, and hearing the prayers of his mother as he left us.
It is easy to think of Chris’ life as defined by his injury. For all whose lives he touched, Chris defined and transformed the world through the lens of his injury with love. That is his legacy.
Chris is survived by his parents, Bill and Corinne, his older brother Bill, Jr. (Kirsten), and younger sisters Andrea Finn and Rebecca (Finn) Ewald (Eric) and their families. His nieces Emily and Macy Ewald, and Sommer Finn were especially dear to him.
A Virtual Celebration of Life Gathering on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. CT (Chris Finn Day in the City of Oakland) will celebrate his life. Visit Chris’ Facebook page for event details. A Zoom link will be updated on this Facebook event page in advance of the celebration.
Roman Catholic Funeral mass will held on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 10am at Saint Monica Church in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. Burial services for Chris’ ashes will take place at Holy Cross Cemetery & Mausoleum at 7301 West Nash Street in Milwaukee immediately following mass at Saint Monica Church.
Donations in memory of Chris may be made to directly Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP) Adaptive Sports and Recreation: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/borp
Chris’ family especially wishes to thank his home health aides who supported him, every day, for many years. Their tireless professionalism in attending to the daily routines many of us take for granted was exceeded only by their depth of personal commitment and care for Chris.
Please, share a memory and sign the guestbook.