Vasken “Ken” Finigian passed away peacefully in his sleep in his retirement home town of Sonora at the age of 93.
Ken was born Sept 27, 1924, in Connecticut. He spent his youth in the Detroit area then enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II from 1943 to 1946. He returned to Detroit and his family after his discharge and pursued a career with General Motors from 1947 until his retirement in 1986 as a Master Model Maker. Ken Finigian was recently privileged to visit our nation's many war memorials by the not-for-profit Honor Flight Northern California organization accompanied by his son, Steve, who is also a U.S. Navy and Vietnam veteran.
Moving from the Detroit area to Columbia, he belonged to many clubs/organizations, including the American Legion of Sonora, where he was known as the “OJ man” for his pouring of orange juice at the monthly pancake breakfast, participated in the Mother’s Day Parade as a clown with the Shriners, he was a Master Mason for over 50 years, a TCAA member working over 10 years at the yearly Father’s Day Fly-In flipping pancakes, belonged to the local Elks Lodge for over 20 years, SIRS, The Moose Lodge, Tuolumne County Search and Rescue Air Squadron, and the Civil Air Patrol Squadron 147, as well as former president of the Columbia Lions .
He was a private pilot, enjoyed trap and skeet shooting, reading, especially WWII Aviation books, volunteering, and Corvettes.
Ken is survived by his wife, Katherine K. Roloff; his sister, Val Shields, of Detroit; his sons, Steve (Mary) Finigian, of Sonora, and Terry (Lori) Finigian, of Phoenix, Arizona; grandchildren, Kristi (Robert) Wiggins, of Oakdale, and Michael Finigian, of Phoenix; and great-grandchild, Landon Wiggins.
He was preceded in death by his first wife of 43 years, Maria Finigian; his great-grandchild, Nolan Patrick Wiggins, and his brother Garo Finigian.
A memorial service will be held from 10 a.m. to noon July 20 at the Sonora Veteran’s Memorial Hall. A private family graveside service will be held later that day.
Donations can be made in his name to the local chapter of the American Legion, P.O. Box 3666, Sonora, CA 95370, or your favorite local charity.