Obituary of Elsie Finley
Elsie Franz Finley
Elsie passed away peacefully on August 14, 2018 at the age of 97. She will be forever remembered as a pioneering businesswoman, loving wife, sister, friend, community leader, and philanthropist. She generously gave her time, talents, and resources to the community she loved.
Elsie was born in Portland on March 31, 1921. She was a life long resident of Portland and Vancouver, Washington. She was preceded in death by her husband Don Finley, her brother Robert W. (Bob) Franz, and her parents Joseph Franz and Elizabeth Streib Franz.
Elsie grew up in the Laurelhurst neighborhood and later moved “upriver”’ to Milwaukie. She went to college at the University of Oregon graduating with a degree in Business Administration. After graduating, she went to work for the family-owned First State Bank of Milwaukie alongside her brother, Bob Franz and her husband, Don Finley. In 1982 Pacific Western Bank merged its subsidiary banks to form PacWest Bancorp and a merger with KeyCorp followed in the mid 80s. Many of Elsie’s colleagues recall her intellect, attention to detail, work ethic, and the overall example of leadership she set in an era where female leaders were a rarity.
Elsie had longtime ties with the University of Portland, the Congregation of the Holy Cross, and Providence Health Services.
An incredibly generous and humble philanthropist, Elsie never sought the spotlight. In fact, she preferred to remain quietly in the background from a recognition standpoint, but she definitely held the recipients accountable for how the funds were being used.
Elsie Franz Finley leaves a legacy of philanthropy across the Portland area, particularly focused on Catholic causes. Elsie gifted most of her wealth in the past year to numerous organizations, including Blanchet House, Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel, CYO/Camp Howard, La Salle High School, the Sisters of St. Mary’s of Oregon, and numerous other Catholic organizations. Elsie made transformative gifts to the University of Portland in support of the Franz Campus and the School of Nursing. By far, her biggest impact has been upon the number of individuals served at Providence’s Robert W. Franz Cancer Center. Elsie was committed to funding cutting-edge immunotherapy research.
A Memorial Mass will be held in September. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the Robert W. Franz Cancer Center at Providence Portland Medical Center or to the University of Portland’s School of Nursing.