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The celebration of Reverend Dr. Leon Finney Jr. was held on Sept. 26, 2020. Around 12:30 p.m. CST, vehicles lined to participate in the “Motorcade,” at Leaks Funeral Home on 78th Cottage Grove in Chicago.
His Birth and Education
He was born in Louise, Mississippi on July 16, 1938. Always having a strong desire to uplift his community — he studied at Goddard College and the private institution Nova Univerisity.
At Goddard College Finney received an M.A. in Economics and Urban Community Development. From the McCormick Theological Seminary, he received an M.A. in Theological Studies; A Doctor of Theology degree. At Nova University he earned a Doctoral in Public Administration and an M.A. in Public Administration.
He devoted his entire professional life-renewing the community that he loved. He founded the Christ Apostolic Church — and just prior to his death — Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church where he served as its pastor. Finney fully immersed himself into his community.
Devote Member of the Community
He was a professor at the Univerisity of Chicago, the University of Illinois, the Lutheran School of Theology, the Presbyterian College, and the Theological College of the Bahamas. Finney joined the staff at the McCormick Theological Seminary in 1993.
There he taught African American Leadership Studies. He was also the ExecutiveDirector of the African-American Leadership Partnership (AALP). He was also the Chairman and Principal fr the South Central Real Estate Group, Inc.
The civic leader saw his people in need and set out to correct it. He joined the Chicago Public Housing Authority and served as the vice-chairman. A continued presence in the community he became a chairman of the Monitoring Commission for School Desegregation for Chicago Public Schools.
The longtime civic leader also served as a board member on the Broadcast Ministers Alliance and Council for Parliament of the World’s Religions; and Chicago Planning Commission. He fought his whole life for equality for all.
Finney wrote numerous publications on the social and economic developments in Chicago. One of these publications is, “Urban Disinvestment, A Counter Strategy for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Neighborhood Economic Development – Myth or Fact and TWO Model Cities Plan.”
For all his professional and civic works, Finney has won various awards and honors throughout his life.
The Passing of the Civic Leader
Dr. Finney passed away on Sept. 4, at the University of Chicago Hospital. He was 82-years-old at the time. His family held his funeral on the morning of Sept. 27. Since his death, people have been sharing kind words about the Reverend.
At the funeral, his daughter spoke of her fond memories of him, “He was a servant to God, a servant to his community, a servant to his friends and a servant to his family.”
Finney fought to help revitalize the South Side neighborhood by founding the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation and Woodlawn Organization. He was also the proud owner of Urban Broadcast Media and Leon’s BBQ.
Finney’s family appreciated all of the kind words during the great civic leader’s celebration of life.
Written by Sheen Robertson
The History Makers: Reverend Dr. Leon D. Finney, Jr.
ABC: Dr. Leon Finney Jr., Chicago pastor and civic leader, dead at 82; ABC7 Chicago Digital Team
NBC: Bio: Dr. Leon Finney
Chicago Crusader: Services Celebrating the Life of Dr. Leon Finney, Jr.
US News: Nova Southeastern University
Featured Image Courtesy of Carlos Amato’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Inline Image Courtesy of Jim Roberts Gallery’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inline Image Courtesy of Mark Robinson’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License