Robert “Bob” Finley was born June 3, 1929 the only child of Lloyd and Georgianna (Milbrath)
Finley of Delavan, Wi. He was raised in the Great Depression which shaped and formed many
of his life long habits. Bob was good with his hands and a “do it your selfer.” In his early teen
years he bartered a black powder shotgun for a Model T Ford, rebuilt it and drove it around
Delavan so often that the Police Chief issued him a driving license because he was tired of
turning a blind eye. During high school, one of Bob’s former girlfriends remembered that his idea
of a date was taking his girl in his Model T out to a farm to shoot gophers from the car.
This lifelong interest in cars led him to work at the local Chevrolet dealership sweeping floors
and eventually repairing cars. Bob was a Chevrolet and Cadillac master mechanic and was
trained in Detroit by General Motors. One of his other jobs at the dealership was driving tow
trucks. He had many wild stories of pulling cars out of ditches on snowy nights.
Bob graduated from Delavan High School in 1947 and within a couple of years was drafted into
the army. His experience with automobiles resulted in being assigned to the motor pool at Fort
Benning, Georgia. On weekend furlough he met 17 year old Joan Philpott from nearby
Roanoke, Alabama while on a blind date with some friends. They were married in 1952 and
after Bob’s military discharge, moved back to Delavan where he resumed his work at the
Bob and Joan purchased a home in the Delavan Inlet in 1954 and this became their life long
home. In 1964 Bob went to work for Sta-Rite Industries in Delavan as a maintenance electrician
designing and building test stands and doing general repairs and electrical work. He retired
from Sta-Rite in 1991.
Bob was a deacon and on the building committee of the East Delavan Baptist Church and later
served as a deacon at Calvary Community Church in Williams Bay. He was currently a member
of the Briggs Road Evangelical Free Church in Elkhorn. He had an abiding love and trust in the
Lord and served him through the use of his talents as a mechanic and electrician in Church
projects and at the Christian League for the Handicapped in Walworth, WI.
In retirement, Bob discovered trailer camping and spent his summers and falls drifting around
Wisconsin with Joan and a small circle of friends camping. One of his favorite activities was
riding his bicycle down the campground bike trails. Bob remained active until his 90th year
shoveling snow from his walkways, mowing the lawn and working on his cars. His mind was
sharp until the end and he was able to remember his high school classmates by name and how
much he paid for every car he had ever owned. He was still giving financial advice to his
grandkids a week before his death. In March of 2020 Bob and Joan moved to Golden Years of
Walworth where Joan resides today.
Bob was preceded in death by his loving parents, Lloyd and Georianna Finley. He is survived by
his wife, Joan (Philpott), two sons Patrick (Anita) Finley of Burlington, WI, Michael (Valentina de
Navasques) of Milwaukee, WI, and three grandchildren Sean Finley of Burlington, WI, Benjamin
Finley of Helsinki Finland, and Reid Finley of Milwaukee, Wi.
Bob will be fondly remembered for the stories that he told and the life he led. Betzer Funeral Home is serving the Finley Family.