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Former Bell President J. Wiley Finney, Jr.’s Passing

Mr. J. Wiley Finney, Jr., 102, passed away Monday, February 24, 2014, at Wesley Village following a short illness.

Born in Nashville, TN on March 31, 1911, Mr. Finney was the middle of three children including an older sister and younger brother. In 1928, upon finishing public school in Nashville, he enrolled in the University of Tennessee where he graduated in 1933 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a Reserve Commission in the Army Corps of Engineers. Upon graduation, he accepted a job with the Sanitary Engineering Division of the Tennessee Department of Public Health. In March 1934, he married Hazel May Jakes, also of Nashville.

In March 1941, he received orders to report to Fort McClellan, AL as Post Sanitary Engineer and in August 1942, he was assigned to the Eighth Air Force Composite command for overseas duty. After returning from Europe in 1944, he resumed his previous job in Nashville until 1946, when he received a fellowship to Harvard Graduate School. There he earned a Master’s Degree in Sanitary Engineering in 1948.

Over the next several decades, Mr. Finney earned the respect of his peers and colleagues for his work in the water and wastewater treatment industry along with numerous awards and accolades. In 1954, he accepted a job with Howard K. Bell Consulting Engineers, located in Lexington, KY. His work included the design of water and wastewater treatment systems including the first major joint venture wastewater treatment plant between a city and a major industry in South Charleston, WV in 1960. Mr. Finney served as president of the company from 1969 to 1979, when he retired to work part time as a consultant. A mentor and friend to many, Mr. Finney will be remembered for his remarkable contributions to the industry and will be greatly missed.

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