I am writing a tribute in loving memory to Abbie Finney. She was a lovely, smiling, wonderfully welcoming person. She had the ability to light up the room. Her physical beauty was such that I fear it inspired envy and jealousy. But she was a simple soul and a kind person, who by dint of her will, managed to lift herself up. She never stopped caring for or helping her siblings and often spoke to me of her brothers. She was generous in her affections and did favors for many.
When she worked at a local bank, persons would wait to see Abbie when other banking officers were available to help them. I was one of those who preferred to wait. Her desk usually had a floral bouquet, and she was always immaculately dressed and greeted us with a welcoming smile. Her concern for clients was genuine and she, quite frankly, often tried to entice me into helping someone that she thought might need a friend or some help that I might be able to provide.
When I left San Juan Island for a year’s stay in Italy in 2011, I asked Abbie to collect my mail, pay my bills and oversee my tenants leasing my house as well as manage the rental house on my property. Her willingness to do so made it possible for me to feel comfortable about being away. Abbie was often asked to house-sit for persons on the island, and they were able to trust her to do so and it made it possible for her to avoid the commute she otherwise made from where she lived on Shaw Island. Abbie loved Shaw – she thought it was the loveliest place on earth. She leased the Shaw property on a long-term lease. Her love for Shaw was a powerful, almost visceral thing.
Abbie was afflicted with scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine, which caused her continual discomfort, but she never let it defeat her.
I left the islands in 2013, and when I did, I lost touch with many people there as so often happens. But I have thought of Abbie and often wondered how she was. I was horrified to learn of her tragic end.
Walla Walla, Washington