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Beth Paula Finn (May 26, 1942-May 3rd, 2009)
Beth Paula Finn passed away on May 3rd, 2009 surrounded by her family in her Kansas City home. She died of breast cancer after a long struggle. She loved life and even though she suffered during her final years, she still found pleasure, joy and meaning every day and she was reluctant to depart this world. Her strong faith in God brought her strength during her struggles. Everyone around her found her a source of an inspiration. She was the dynamic force that often brought the family together during her life, and as she passed away, chatting, laughing, crying, conversation, and music surrounded her. She not only taught us how to live with integrity and a creative, generous spirit, but also about the dignity in suffering and to die gracefully. She will be remembered and missed by many people.
Beth believed in showing compassion for all human beings and lived that in her work and her passions. She was a faithful wife, dedicated schoolteacher, fiber artist, world traveler, oldest of 9 children, a beloved sister, loving mother of five and proud grandmother of nine. She enjoyed her bridge groups, reading clubs, and her parish, St. Elizabeth’s. Her family and children were a great passion of hers. While raising her own five children, she taught elementary school in the Kansas City Public School district and worked on and received a Master’s in Education from UMKC and ninety hours towards a doctorate. She became a reading specialist and organized author fairs, and implemented progressive programs like “Chat-N-Chew” where members of the military were invited in to have lunch and discuss books with school children. She worked with young authors to write and illustrate their own books. One of her students won first place in a competition and Beth was very proud of the book’s publication. She received an employee recognition award by the KCMSD for 1992-93 and received an Excellence in Teaching honor from the Learning Exchange in May 1994.
Upon being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996, she decided to retire from full time teaching and pursued her lifelong dream of attending art school and enrolled as a full time student at the Kansas City Art Institute. She flourished in this environment and majored in fiber arts. As an artist she continued to work part time as an educator.
Beth expressed her love of learning and spirit of adventure through travel. Her love of humanity and embracing of diverse cultures and people fed her desire to travel. She toured the museums, art galleries, and churches of Italy and France with her grandchildren. She hiked in Peru, visited the waterfall Iguazu and danced in Cuba with her daughters, and toured China with her sister Kaye. Beth and her husband Bill traversed Europe and visited Panama, New Zealand, and Australia and Thailand. She went with friends to Scandinavia, and later towards the end of her life she enjoyed a trip to Colorado with her bridge group. She made pilgrimages to Our Lady of Lourdes, Fatima, Rome and to the shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City. She traveled with her children and their families on vacations to Costa Rica and the Yucatan Peninsula.
A loving, compassionate and caring person, she adored her grandchildren and her daughters-in-law. In return, they loved her, and they taught her Spanish words like “panchanguera“, or someone who doesn’t like to leave a party. We will miss her as the heart and spirit of the party.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Vivian Caldwell Stevermer and her brothers Brian and Mark Stevermer. She has been survived by her husband, William A. Finn, and her children William Jr., Maria, Steven, Casey, and Betsey. Her father, Mark Stevermer, sisters Kaye Stevermer and Lynda Beinlich, her brothers Doug, Richard, Kim and Edward. Her grandchildren Alexander, Bill, Priscilla, Andrew, Emiliano, Cuauhtémoc, Casey Daniel, Isabel and Hannah.
A visitation will be held from 4:30 pm to 6 pm and a Memorial Mass stating at 6 pm on Wednesday May 6th at St Elizabeth Catholic Church 75 & Main Kansas City, MO. A wake at the families home following the Mass
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to:
Turning Point (http://turningpointkc.org/turningpointkc.aspx?pgID=893)
8900 State Line Road, Suite 240
Shawnee Mission, KS 66206