Charles Joseph Finley

June 24, 1926 ~ December 26, 2019 (age 93)


One of Pennsylvania’s sons and America’s soldiers was lost on 26 December 2019, when Charles Joseph Finley passed away peacefully due to complications from Alzheimer’s at age 92.  He was residing at the Falcons Landing Military Retirement Community in Potomac Falls, Virginia.  Funeral services with full military honors will be held at 3pm ET on 24 February 2021 at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC), where he will be laid to rest alongside his wife of 46 years, Jo Ann Hecker Finley.

Chuck was born 24 June 1927 in Unity, Pennsylvania to Charlie and Lucy Fenoglietto, who ran the Commercial Hotel in Tarentum.  After Charlie passed away, Lucy remarried, and the family grew.  Chuck loved his second father, Sam Hildebrand, as well as his two new siblings.  Chuck (known to some as Buddy, Luke, or Charlie), graduated high school early to enlist in the US Marines (WWII)… But, he later smartened-up and served a career in the US Air Force, retiring after 25 years on active duty as a combat navigator and developer of several space systems, to include GPS.  Following his passion for space, he went to work for NASA, where his crowning achievement was helping to design and build the International Space Station.

He had an unparalleled love for his family and his Pennsylvania home, where you could catch him on most every vacation golfing with his brothers, sisters, mom, and kids.  He had a passion for learning anything and everything, first at Penn State, where he was a proud member of the Chi Phi fraternity, then at The Ohio State, and on into retirement, wherever free classes were offered or the Geodetic Survey Squadron (GSS) or the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) were meeting.

Chuck was predeceased by his sisters (Madeline Davis and Ann Stinard), his brother (Dick Hildebrand), his sister-in-law (Peggy Hildebrand), and his brothers-in-law (Jack Davis, Gene Stinard, and Erdie Gahagan).  He is survived by his loving children, Pamela LaFontaine of Ashburn, Virginia and Charlie Finley of Albuquerque, New Mexico… as well as his daughter-in-law (Lori Finley), two grandchildren (Joey and Caroline Finley), and his sisters (Shirley Dickson and Sandra Gahagan).

Chuck’s children are forever grateful for the overwhelming support from friends and family.  If you’d like to reach out about ANC funeral arrangements, or other, please contact Pam at 571-449-0588 or  We are working to get a live-stream link set up.  Though our incredible father no longer walks this earth, his energy and loving spirit live on, inspiring each of us on our individual journey.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Charles Joseph Finley, please visit our floral store.


Funeral Service
February 24, 2021

3:00 PM
Arlington National Cemetery
1 Memorial Drive
Arlington, Virginia 22211

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