In memory of
Melinda Finger 1/17/1950 - 8/27/2019 CHELSEA, MI Melinda Finger, age 69, passed away on August 27th, 2019 at Glazier Commons, Chelsea after living a happy, full and challenging forty-five years with multiple sclerosis. Melinda Lee Hansen was born to Margaret Mae (Whitney) Hansen and Gordon Loren Hansen on January 17, 1950 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She attended kindergarten at Eberwhite Elementary School and then moved with her family to Adrian, Michigan where she attended first through tenth grade. Melinda was the president of her sophomore class at Adrian High School. Melinda moved with her family to Shaker Heights, Ohio, and attended Shaker Heights High School. She tutored elementary school children in Hough and volunteered in Eugene McCarthy's presidential campaign. She taught Sunday school in her little sister's class. She took the opportunity to hear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speak and had the pluck to ask for his autograph. Melinda chose Albion College for her freshman year and transferred to the University of Michigan for the rest of her education. She majored in history and English and earned her teaching certificate. She taught one year and then returned to the University of Michigan and earned her Master of Social Work with an emphasis on community practice. She worked one year as a community organizer with a YWCA in Livonia. She met Craig Finger, the love her of life, in Ann Arbor. Melinda and Craig were married on December 29, 1973, at First United Methodist Church. They made their home in Ann Arbor where they welcomed three sons into their family. They enjoyed their lives on Eberwhite Woods in the house that her parents had built twenty-seven years before and where she had lived as a small child. The family moved to East Lansing in 1986 where Melinda engaged with her community as a volunteer in many capacities. She dedicated herself especially to teaching English as a Second Language to refugees. During her years of teaching, she worked with scores of people, many of whom became her friends, and guided eleven into citizenship. Melinda's family - her husband, her sons, their wives and her grandchildren - was the centerpiece of her life. She delighted in their energy, interests, travels, and homes. She loved time together, sitting by the fireplace, at an outdoor bonfire, or at a beach fire. She delighted in singing, had an excellent voice, and was a capable and enthusiastic guitar player in her day. Melinda was a people person who nurtured and treasured her friendships. She remained in close relationships with many of her Adrian classmates even as she added scores of friends from every setting that she entered. Her warm interest in her friends and family was rewarded with their love and loyalty. Melinda always lived the life of the mind. She was an early reader and a life-long reader, choosing history, biography, and literary fiction. She was eager to recommend her books and equally avid for her friends' suggestions. She admired the books of Doris Kearns Goodwin and celebrated the note she received from that author after she had written her of her admiration for No ordinary time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt - the home front in World War II. Melinda took a keen interest in politics. Unable to actively campaign for Barack Obama due to her mobility issues, Melinda opened her home to house out-of-state volunteers in 2008. She was an early Obama supporter, read Obama's books and sent them to family and friends. She took great pleasure in President and Mrs. Obama's years in the White House. She loved Michelle Obama's autobiography Becoming. Being outdoors was a life-long passion for Melinda. She camped as a child with her family on long trips to the western states. She traveled to Alaska and hiked and kayaked after her year of teaching. She cross-country skied as long as she was able and hiked for as long as she could. She hiked in her scooter when her legs gave out. She bought a kayak and a rowboat to make sure her boys had opportunities to get out on the water. She brought one of her sons every other year to Oregon and loved her time at the coast. Every day of her life she wanted to have some time outdoors where she felt most at home. Melinda made her time at Chelsea Retirement Community a celebration of fresh opportunities and new friends. She lobbied for and got handicap-access door openers for three restrooms. She put together a resident directory to facilitate connections. She was thrilled to share her last years with her father who was also a resident and loved getting coffee in the morning together. Melinda was lucky in love, marrying and sharing her life with Craig. He was her rock and he stuck with her through the decades of decline. Together they maintained full and happy lives in the face of daunting challenges. Melinda had a partner in Craig who understood and committed to "for better or worse." Melinda's happiest days were spent on Lake Michigan at Port Sheldon. She was the fastest runner on the sand dune as a girl. Her days as a teenage Port Sheldon Torpedo were filled with friends and laughter. She treasured her summer times with Craig and her growing boys. Her last wish was a trip to see her lake and she sat in contemplation, communing with its wide, serene expanse. Melinda is survived by her beloved husband, Donald Craig Finger of Chelsea; her son David (Allison Moore) of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; her son Marc (Tricia Finger) of Okemos; her son Eric of East Lansing; her four grandchildren, Thomas Savage, Ella Finger, Donovan Finger, and Vivienne Finger; her father Gordon Hansen of Chelsea; her sister Amy (Tom Spies) of Corvallis, Oregon; her sister Julie (Bob Rooney) of Richland, Michigan; her sister Marcia Danemayer of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; her six nephews and her niece, and her three grandnephews and her three grand nieces. She is predeceased by her mother, Marge Hansen (Margaret Whitney). Memorial Services will be held on Saturday, September 28th, 1:30 pm, at Chelsea Retirement Community Chapel, 801 W. Middle St., Chelsea, MI.
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