Obituary: Murray Hamilton Finley Jr., Ph.D., 84

by | Jan 26, 2024

A national champion of education and mental health

From the Hill Funeral Home website

Murray Hamilton Finley Jr., Ph.D., died surrounded by his loving family on January 25, at the age of 84. Murray is survived by his wife of 58 years Patricia Ann Finley of East Greenwich; his children Kathleen Finley Landy of New York, N.Y., and Mary Finley Anderson and Mary’s husband Daniel Anderson of East Greenwich. Murray was the proud grandfather of Brian and Catherine Anderson, and Lauren and Eleanor Landy. He also leaves behind his brother Thomas Finley (Des Moines, Iowa) and his sister Catherine Clark (Des Moines). He was the brother of the late Terry Biddinger (Denver, Colo).

Murray was born to Murray and Mary Catherine Finley on February 19, 1939, in Mason City, Iowa.

Murray was a national champion of education and mental health, growing Rhode Island College’s programs on counseling and educational psychology for over two decades from 1974 onwards, and serving as Chair of Counselor Education at Rhode Island College (RIC) from 1980-1989.

During Murray’s tenure at RIC, the Counselor Education department grew to the largest program in the 10-state area of the North Atlantic Region Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (NARACES), with 325 students and 7 full-time doctoral faculty. And in 1985, RIC’s department of Counselor Education received the best program award in this 10-state area.

Murray also served on the Governor’s Commission for licensure of all Rhode Island mental health providers, including marriage and family therapists; the licensure for which was passed in 1987. As president of both The Massachusetts/Rhode Island Association for Counselor Educators and Supervisors and NARACES, Murray brought academic rigor and notoriety to RIC’s growing Counselor Education program. Then in 1992, Murray received the National Counselor Educator Service Award.

Murray was an active member of Our Lady of Mercy parish community. His commitment to the Catholic faith spanned his entire life: Murray was a seminary student at Loras College, 1961, before moving to Chicago to teach at Chicago’s Roosevelt University, where he met his wife Patricia Mooney in 1964. Murray went on to complete his master’s degree in counseling from Roosevelt University in 1967 and then earned a doctorate in philosophy at University of Iowa in 1971. In 1974, Murray moved his family to RI to develop the graduate counseling program at Rhode Island College.

Murray continued to stay in touch with his colleagues from the seminary, many of whom became leaders in the Roman Catholic Church. These friendships endured. Murray always made friends for life, and was a loyal companion to those lucky enough to spend time with him.

Murray will be remembered for his keen sense of humor and sharp wit, as his four grandchildren can attest. Murray’s legacy of “corny jokes” will continue to serve as a joy to the next generation.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial on Wednesday January 31st at 10:00 am at Our Lady of Mercy Church, 65 Third St., East Greenwich. Burial will be in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, East Greenwich. Calling hours: Tuesday January 30th from 4-6 pm in the Hill Funeral Home, 822 Main St., East Greenwich. Memorial donations may be made to The Catholic Charity Appeal https://dioceseofprovidence.org/cca.

You can leave an online condolence at the Hill Funeral Home website HERE.

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Posted 1/26/24

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