Dorville Ward Finkle

Beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle and teacher and friend, Dorville Ward Finkle (aka “Dory” and “Fink”) passed away peacefully at home Feb. 23, 2020. He was 92 years old.

Dory was born in 1927 in Shavertown, N.Y., and grew up on a dairy farm in the rural Catskill mountains, where he learned to fix anything that needed “fixing.”

In 1945, while still in high school, he was drafted into the Marine Corps to serve in World War II, stationed in Cuba after basic training. After the war, he returned to Roscoe High School to earn his diploma in 1947. He then attended SUNY/Morrisville to obtain his associate degree in automotive technology, the first in his family to earn a college degree.

In February 1950, he met the love of his life, Alice, and they were married that September, three days before he was due to report back to Camp Lejeune, having been called back to service for the Korean War.

After completing his service, he and Alice lived in Roscoe, where he worked at Kirschner’s Garage and ran the film booth at the local movie theater. The Roscoe Congregational Church still displays the wooden cross in the front of the sanctuary that he built for them when they attended there as members.

The principal of Roscoe High School stopped by the garage one day to encourage him to get a teaching degree, promising him a job at the high school if he would take the chance. He and Alice decided to go for it, renting their house out for two years and moved to Oswego, where he earned that bachelor’s degree. It was there that they began what would become a lifelong friendship with Paul and Barbara Stoutenburgh. After teaching in Roscoe for five years, in 1964, he received a call from Paul that there was a job opening at Greenport High School. He traveled to Long Island for an interview, got the job and, taking yet another leap of faith, moved his family away from generations of family in upstate New York to a whole new life on Long Island. Little did he know at the time that “Mr. Finkle” was to become a Greenport institution, teaching groups of seventh-graders how to use dangerous equipment in wood shop and then hopping in a car to ride around with unlicensed teenage drivers in driver’s ed until his retirement in 1986. He also taught less risky subjects such as mechanical drawing, photography, auto shop and metal shop. Ever humble, nobody was more surprised (and gratified) than he was to hear he’d had an impact on any of his students. He loved being a teacher, and always wished he could have done even more.

In 1987, he and his son-in-law, Rory MacNish, opened a custom picture-framing shop where they worked together until the early 1990s.

A lifelong woodworker, fisherman, clammer, hunter, photographer and outdoorsman, he loved to teach others by sharing his knowledge and experience. His seemingly unending supply of entertaining stories and jokes will be missed.

Travel was very much a part of his life, hiking in the Rocky Mountains, driving and camping across the U.S. one summer, visiting friends and family in Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Hawaii, North Carolina, California and Florida and exploring new places such as New Zealand and Australia (with the “Stouts”!)

Over the years, his volunteer civic duties included Roscoe Fire Department, NYS Teacher’s Association representative, Mattituck-Cutchogue school board member, and Boy Scout leader. He also belonged to, and served tenures as president of, the Cutchogue United Methodist Church Board of Trustees, the Pequash Club and the Cutchogue New Suffolk Library board.

Over the last few years, he was well cared for by the VA home-based care team (Susan Kaytis, R.N.), East End Hospice, Cutchogue Fire Department and caregivers Sherry, Nancy and Laurence.

The hardest part of leaving this life was parting with Alice, his wife of nearly 70 years, but he knew that she would be comforted in the legacy they created together in their children, Terry (Kathy), Jo-Anne (Jeff) Crawford and Merri (Rory) MacNish; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Predeceased by his sister, Doris, and her daughter, Robin, he’s survived by his nephew, Chris. He is also survived by his brother, Raymond (Katie), and nephew George (Elaine).

An avid reader, lifelong learner and close follower of current events, a message that he very much wanted to impart to all of us was to encourage everyone to exercise their civic duty and vote.

A memorial service was planned for March 28, however, to avoid unnecessary exposure to the coronavirus, it has been postponed. Once a new date has been set, a notice will be posted in The Suffolk Times and on Facebook.

In lieu of flowers, a scholarship fund has been established for Greenport High School students entering the teaching field. To donate online, please go to (search for Dorville Finkle Scholarship Fund) or make a check payable to Dorville Finkle Scholarship Fund and mail it to Alice Finkle, P.O. Box 563, Cutchogue, NY 11935.

This is a paid notice.