FINNEGAN, ROBERT EMMETT

A funeral mass was held Jan. 3 at St. Vital Catholic Church for Robert Emmett Finnegan, soldier and scholar, irrepressible wit and Professor of English at the University of Manitoba. He died Dec. 23 at St. Boniface Hospital, in the company of his wife Joan and his two daughters, Joan Bowker (Rod) and Kathleen Leipsic (Greg). He is survived by seven grandchildren: Robert (Alana), Kristen, Alex, and Erica Bueckert; Brendan, Jeremy, and Emma Leipsic; and three great-grandchildren, Jackson and Ella Bueckert and Ainsley Dyck. He was predeceased by his father Robert and mother Anne Finnegan of Jersey City. He earned a BA in English (1962) at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City and married his high school sweetheart Joan (née Sears), after receiving his MA in English from Notre Dame University in 1963. Rob and Joan lived in South Bend where he began work at Notre Dame on his PhD in English, while teaching courses at Indiana University as well as Notre Dame, and serving as an Army Reservist (1963 – 1969). After he received his PhD in February 1969, he was deployed to Vietnam as a captain in the U.S. Army, where he served in the Phoenix Program as a paratrooper in military intelligence, often dropping behind enemy lines for weeks at a time with his South Vietnamese brothers. Receiving the Bronze Star and Commendation Medal for meritorious service, he left the “green world” to drive with a young family across a snow-swept continent to take up a post at the University of Manitoba in Jan. 1971, where he taught Old and Middle English for 45 years. In every respect, he was worthy of the compliment Chaucer paid to his clerk in The Canterbury Tales: “And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche.” Services arranged by the McLaughlin Funeral Home, Jersey City.