Vivian Alene Creech Finch
December 3, 1925 – June 29, 2021
Vivian Alene Creech Finch, a native of the Sanders Chapel community in Johnston County, North Carolina, passed away peacefully on June 29, 2021 at the age of 95 in her residence at Parkwood Village in Wilson.
A former special education teacher in the San Diego public schools, Vivian was born December 3, 1925. She was the wife of Dr. William Anderson (Bill) Finch, a professor of geography at San Diego State University, who preceded her in death in 1982.
A 1943 graduate of Smithfield High School, she attended Louisburg and High Point Colleges in North Carolina, graduating with an A.B. degree in home economics. She earned her master’s degree in education at the University of Oklahoma and participated in numerous workshops in her field around the country and internationally. Over the course of her career, she taught children of all ages, from kindergarten through high school.
Vivian was the daughter of James Calvin Creech and Cora Talton Creech. She grew up in the Sanders Chapel community and met her husband Bill while attending school in Smithfield. The two were married in 1949. They lived for short periods of time in Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, and Missouri as they completed post-graduate degrees and began their careers, before settling in San Diego, California, which was Vivian’s home for over 50 years.
A long-time active member of First United Methodist Church of San Diego, Vivian was a lover of music, art, opera, culture, and nature and travelled extensively throughout the world. She accompanied her husband Bill for part of his doctoral field work in the Yucatan, Mexico. She participated in special education workshops in Finland and Sweden, and visited China, Mongolia, Norway, Jordan, Australia, Ireland, and Iceland, among other countries. With her open mind and inquisitive nature, she continued to travel and explore the world with her friends in San Diego until well into her latter years.
She created a scholarship at Johnston Community College in Smithfield in memory of her late husband and was a strong supporter of San Diego State University. Among other gifts, she established the William Finch Remote Sensing Laboratory in SDSU’s Department of Geography to honor his ground-breaking contributions to the science of remote geographic sensing.
Vivian is survived by her nephew, Robert Charles Hines, who, together with his wife Mary, cared for her in her final years in Wilson. Also surviving are Vivian’s great nephew, Jeff Hines of Wake Forest; her great nieces, Bonnie Hines McDaniel of Cary and Tracy Hines of Elizabethtown; her sister-in-law, Frances Finch Hobart (John) of Smithfield; her nephews, John Donald Hobart, Jr. (Kay) of Raleigh and Dr. Frank Adams Hobart (Betsy) of Wilmington; her niece, Frances Waddell Best of Winterville, and her great nephews, Frank Adams Hobart III and William Finch Hobart of Wilmington.
Having lived a long and rich life, she was also preceded in death by her sister, Ruth Creech Hines, many of her close friends and family members and her beloved cat, Paddywhack.
A graveside service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 24, 2021 in Sunset Memorial Park in Smithfield, where her ashes will be interred alongside those of her husband in the Creech family plot. Rev. LaVon Phillips, retired pastor of the Farmington Heights Church of God in Wilson, will officiate the ceremony and will be joined by Rev. Paul Curtis, who also helped minister to Vivian during her time at Parkwood Village.
Condolences directed to Joyner’s Funeral Home and Crematory at www.joyners.net.