Celebrate your loved one’s life in a way that’s as independent as they were – in the Daily Independent and on YourValley.net. Share fond memories, photos and information on celebrations of life using our easy, step-by-step process.
Patricia Lewis Finnell, 87, of Surprise, Arizona died peacefully in her sleep of a long illness on the morning of October 20th, 2023. Well known by her friends and family as Pat, she had a fulfilling and accomplished life. Born and raised near Los Angeles, California alongside her younger sister, Jean, Pat attended Cleveland High School in Seattle, Washington and began working at the Bon Marche, a fashion department store in the city. She was passionate about fashion shows and ran a few local pageants through the Bon Marche. Through this work she received a scholarship to attend the University of Washington where she studied retail and marketing at the Foster School of Business, graduating in 1957, where she was a member of the Chi Omega Sorority. After graduating she continued to work at the Bon Marche as an executive. After having her children she joined the Childrens’ Home Society of Washington as development officer and later served as CEO of Seattle King County Camp Fire Council. Later, she was selected as the chief executive officer for the National Society of Fundraising Executives headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. Pat served on many nonprofit boards throughout her life, most notably the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra in Virginia, Association of Fundraising Professionals (then called the National Society of Fundraising Executives), Women’s Philanthropy Institute, and most recently serving as board chair for the Sun Health Board until June of 2023 where she spearheaded a number of transformational initiatives. She had a long and very fulfilling career in Philanthropic and nonprofit endeavors. She was frequently recognized for her work and in the late 1990s she received the Henry Rosso Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership award from the University of Indiana; this honor meant a great deal to her. After retiring from NSFRE she became a professor of Nonprofit Leadership at George Mason University and later as an executive in residence teaching and consulting on nonprofit leadership for Arizona State University.
Pat was well known for her generosity, intelligence, love for her family, and her fierce perseverance to always advocate for what she believed in. She was a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, always making time to connect with and support her family and dear friends. She enjoyed traveling and visited over twenty two countries and all 50 states in her life. She had a love for boating which started as a teenager when she would visit her stepfather and his boat each summer. She continued this love for boating through her marriages and with her children. She also loved to cook and entertain guests, never missing the opportunity to invite over friends, coworkers and relatives for a home cooked dinner or an afternoon tea party on the patio, her warm and infectious smile was a welcomed sight to the many visitors she hosted over her life.
Patricia is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Stephen and Carmelita, and by her daughter and son-in-law, Janine and Brad, also by her stepson Joseph, as well as her grandchildren, Madison and Zachary, step grandchildren, Eli and Liana, and her sister Jean. She was preceded in death by her husband Dallas Grant Finnell.
In accordance with her wishes, there will be no service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Sun Health Foundation, or the 501(c)3 charity of one's choice.