Maria Finke

Obituary of Maria Elena Finke

Maria Elena Finke Maria’s children, Justin, Michelle, and Jessica, have asked me to tell their mother’s story today, and it is my honor to do so. They asked me to begin by thanking you all for being here on this final day of farewell… to thank so many of you for sending cards and emails and calling with words of sympathy and encouragement. Maria passed so suddenly on November 13th 2021, that all those have been greatly appreciated in these past few days. Just knowing people care eases some of the grief. Now – from Maria’s children… Mom’s favorite song was a song by Jon Bon Jovi. It’s titled, “It’s My Life.” The refrain repeats the words: <i>     It's my life.      It's now or never.      I ain't gonna live forever.      I just want to live while I'm alive.      My heart is like an open highway;      Like Frankie said, ‘I did it my way.’      I just want to live while I'm alive.      It's my life.</i> And that’s how Maria lived. She ‘did it my way.’ She lived her life on her own terms. She was a woman who loved deeply and was always true to herself. She knew what she wanted to do and be in life and that’s what she went for. Maria always welcomed people with a hug. She made sure you had plenty to eat and drink… and she shoved candy your way whenever possible. Mom was a great hostess when she had people in. She welcomed everyone and worked hard to make sure no one was left out or feeling ‘on the fringes.’ Her mission was to make everyone comfortable and know they were safe in her home. Mom was a funny woman – a great sense of humor and an easy laugh… and she never, ever, said ‘good-bye.’ It was always “Catch ya later.” Mom was born in Illinois on November 21st 1954 but her parents, Frank and Helen Tomajko, moved her and her brother, Frank, out here to Washington when they were young. Both her parents were raised in Slovakia and came to the U.S. independent of one another, landing in Chicago, where they met. When they got out here, mom’s father, Frank, worked in the restaurant industry for a while and then started his own restaurant, The Windjammer. Mom treasured her brother, Frank, who she looked up to all these years. He enriched mom’s life so very much. As kids they enjoyed eating the traditional Slovak foods and cookies their mother would make. Maria loved the crab cookouts that Frank would host with that days catch from off of his boat… Thank you for loving her like you did… Mom and dad (Michael) both worked at The Windjammer. They were married for fourteen years. Mom would later go on to meet and marry her ‘forever’ love, Steve, in 1989 (at which time Jessica became another daughter). Mom was all about family. When the grandkids started to arrive, Mom adored each and every one of them. We’re pretty sure that the days on which each were born were the most joyous days in her life. Elijah is 8, Eliana is 4, Giavanna is 5, Giuliana is 4 and Graciana is 1. They maybe too young to be able to retain all of the memories of their “Ammie” or “Grandma Maria” as they called her, as they get older. It will be up to the us (and some of you here today) to tell them stories of their grandmother so they can ‘know’ her through us… They are her legacy. She is their heritage… Mom loved to spoil them whenever she could. Shopping trips – and abundance of candy. She loved to take them out to eat and have special treats for them to make their time with her special. She was extremely generous with her gifts and with her love… Just a few weeks ago, mom joined the family to celebrate Gia's birthday. She told Michelle how much she loved the cake she made for Gia… But the highlight of the day was spending time watching the kids all have such a wonderful, exhausting time at the Playtorium. Mom had a smile on her face the entire time we were there. The next weekend mom took Elijah and Eliana out for a shopping spree. Then they went to dinner and the movie to celebrate Elijah's birthday. Another wonderful day. Everyone laughed the entire time. Mom was always so grateful for the time she got to spend with the kids. One of her favorite things to do was to take the entire family to Whidbey Island for a long weekend in the summer. The grandkids would play in the sand and dig for clams. We’d clean them and have them for dinner (the clams, not the kids). Mom thought it was wonderful fun to help give the kids a big bubble bath after being in the sand all day. The kids loved it too. Mom lost Steve in 2010. She never really got over it. She was devastated. They were to grow old together. Losing the love of her life took a lot of spirit out of mom. Her once favorite day of the year is coming up soon. She and Steve were married on New Year’s Eve. They always went out and celebrated. Mom loved putting on all her ‘accessories.’ She loved jewelry, high heels, bags, perfume, and anything that sparkled. Fortunately, after Steve left us, she still had her family and friends to love and who all loved her… And mom had a number of longtime friends, too. Vera Pernat ever since childhood, Mary Oaksmith Nikols and Laurie Leahy since Elementary… Donna Madison, Frank Lee, and Jim McDevit from High School days. Whenever they got together, lots of stories of the ‘old days’ in her lime green Pinto and ski trips were told and laughed about… She loved to sit, talk, laugh, go to brunch, and watch a Hallmark Movie with you. One of the things mom loved to do was to send cards. Most everyone here today has gotten cards from mom – birthday, anniversary, get well, congratulations… It was her way of saying ‘I’m thinking of you and sending my love your way.’ And she loved taking care of her little garden on the back patio. It gave her joy… And her dogs… Over the years she had several: Diva, Chica, Pink, CoCo, and Chanel. No animal was ever more loved than those little guys… Oh – here is one of mom’s little quirks… At any given time, she would have enough food and drinks in the house to feed 100+ people. She was always ready to host anyone, whether that be 1 or 100 people. Generous, Funny, Thoughtful, Sentimental, Sparkly, Classy and Engaging… That was mom. She left us way too soon – way too suddenly. But mom, we will always hold you in our hearts. We take comfort in knowing that you have reunited with Steve and your parents in heaven. We will never forget you. We will love you forever. “Catch ya later.” We love you…
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