REMEMBERING REDMOND C. S. FINNEY, 1929-2019

View the Finney Memorial Service Held on Saturday, October 19, 2019

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Memories of Mr. Finney from Gilman Alumni and Friends

Mr. Finney was my Dad's favorite person. He sent 4 of 5 sons to Gilman because of the respect he had. I was #5. And Mr. Finney was as hard on me as the first. He was very tough, but also very respectful. I once spent an hour in his office (the tough part) after something I did. And when my Mom was asked to pick me up (in the middle of the school day) he was very respectful. I learned more that day than any other in my time at Gilman. I'm thankful for Mr. Finney, and I'm thankful that my father cared so much to send me to Gilman (glad I was #5!). - David Lohrey '84

Twenty years after I graduated I took my two young daughters back to Gilman in order that they would get a little appreciation of the time I spent at Gilman (8 years).  Mr. Finney came out of his office, immediately recognized me, and after introducing my daughters, he proceeded to give them a VIP tour. This also included some of my behavior at lunch (butter patties on the ceiling). I next saw  Mr. Finney at our 50th class reunion. I felt that he remembered me as if it were 1961 again. He taught us how to live. - Scott Faulkner '61

It’s been almost a month now since the passing of a man who was tied for first as the most important mentor in my life.  The larger-than-life former Headmaster of Gilman School, the record-breaking athlete, the pioneer of racial integration in school systems, and the role model to thousands of young men in Baltimore passed away peacefully in Maine, at age 89.  As the word quickly spread, people paused, teared up, reflected, and put their internal flags at half-mast.  Our north star had gone dark. 

Or so we imagined. 

 In reality, Reddy’s guiding hand will always be with us, and has been with us for decades since we graduated from Gilman.  So many Gilman alumni and others in his orbit have openly articulated that they have lived their lives with a little mantra inside their heads:  WWRD – what would Reddy do?  Some of us adorn our offices with photographs of him as a reminder of that moral compass, and of the character of a man who changed our lives. Click here to read more. - Bobby Thomas '76

Days after my father died in 2007, two decades after I had graduated from Gilman and two decades since I had seen Mr. Finney, I received an email from him expressing condolences and mentioning a few consequential details about my father that showed he remembered him, too. My father was not a Board member or an alum; he was a dedicated parent. Mr. Finley lived the values he intoned - integrity, honor, respect - and empathy. We at Gilman were blessed to be led by you. Rest In Peace. - Ted Fish

During our trips to school during the snow, my father always appreciated that Mr. Finney was out in the street helping to direct traffic and ensure that students and parents were safe.  Such an incredible leader, visionary and man. - Brooks Marshall '97

To the Finney Family,I just wanted to express my condolences on the passing of Mr. Finney. I was at Gilman for only my junior and senior years (having come from Israel) but Mr. Finney made me feel right at home. I'll never forget his warm encouragement, and the example he set for all of us as a man of principal and dignity. Someone I could look up to. And of course, I still smile when I see the picture I have of him shaking my hand (that famous handshake) at my graduation as he handed me my diploma. May his memory serve as an inspiration for us all. With warm regards, Amatsia. - Amatsia Spigler '82

Never met anyone else like him. His warmth and integrity were the best thing about going to Gilman. I believe Mr. Finney was the most impressive person I have ever encountered. - Eric Anderson '68

I have so many wonderful memories of Mr. Finney. I can't say which one is the "fondest." There were notes from him when I was a student, teacher, and coach. Letters from him when I was in college and after.  Visits from him during my tenure as AD. Literally, all that I have striven to be at Gilman and in life since I was 11 years old can be directly linked to Mr. Finney.  Like my classmates, I had the great blessing to be in Mr. Finney's oldest son's (Stewart) class. So, in reality, Mr. Finney was our headmaster and "class dad." Stewart was a great friend, classmate, and teammate. Without question, Stewart is a "chip off the old block." He embodies all of the admirable traits of his father and Gilman!To those of us blessed enough to have had direct contact with Mr. Finney, he WAS Gilman.  I was in his class as a student (9th grade religion) and on his team as a player (JV football). He was my headmaster as a student and as a young teacher and coach. More than all of that, he was my "father" at Gilman who was only second to my own biological father. He rests at the highest rung of respect in my life. There are only three men in my life whom I will never address by their first name...Dad, Mr. Finney, and Mr. Sotir.  I am forever indebted to all three of those men. However, on this occasion, I say a tearful thank you and farewell to MY Beloved Headmaster.  Thank you, Mr. Finney, for so much.  I love you!! - Timothy "Timmy" Holley, Jr '77

Reddy Finney was a great and good and kind man. My life has been better for having known him. As teacher, coach, and leader, he motivated me to do more than I thought I could. We all have flaws, but I never saw his. The example he set was as close to perfection as any person I've met. I rarely saw him after graduation, but his friendship was comforting even from a distance. When I did see him, his welcome was like the gift of warm support he had offered me as a new student. Now his memory will have to do. He inspired affection, and I will miss him. - Fred Sachs '66

Mr. Finney's presence dominated my Gilman experience. I still remember, "If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well"; but my most poignant memory was when as a Baltimore Police Officer with only 2 years of service I was forced into a situation where I had to shoot and kill another human being. The shooting was morally and legally justifiable, or as a COP would say, "A good shooting."; It was publicized in the local media, and I was trying to work through the fact that I had taken the life of another human being. Mr. Finney took the time to stop me one day and talk to me about the event. The fact that a person I so admired and respected took the time to empathetically listen to me helped me psychologically and spiritually accept my action. - Michael Hilliard '71

When I joined Gilman as a middle schooler I was already aware of Mr Finney's significance through my mom, Linda Trapp, who taught french in the upper school. My 7th grade mind envisioned him as a loud, authoritative lecturer and disciplinarian. My first meaningful interaction with Mr Finney revealed a much different personality of course. I was walking up the Roland Avenue sidewalk and saw him stooped over picking up trash. We weren't even on the Gilman campus yet, but I stopped and helped for a few minutes as we made our way up the hill. He was quiet, completely unassuming, and politely agreed that people ought to be more careful with their trash. I remember his smile and shaking his enormous hand when we were done and parting ways.  Little did I know Mr Finney would seek out my mom that day and I would be credited as a first class citizen. I doubt my mom was as proud of any future grade or athletic accomplishment as that complement. Certainly the pride I felt from that recognition was so profound I still feel it today. Mr Finney was an incredible role model, sincere and inspiring. It is amazing that such an accomplished leader could be so gentle, have such love and ownership of a school, be humble enough to pick up trash on the street with a child, and have the capacity to transmit those values so profoundly to everyone around him. I feel incredibly fortunate to have shared that experience with Mr Finney and look forward to passing along his values of First Class Citizenship to my children. - David Chalmers '97

 

Mr. Finney disapproved of my mediocre performance in III, IV and V forms, and of some other personality quirks that manifested themselves in my bumpy adolescence.  But his manner to me was the deepest, most remarkable combination of sternness and love.  He was -- and is today for all who respected him -- an outstanding example of ethical behavior, creative positive energy, and service to his immediate world.  I think of him every time I walk by a scrap of paper or trash that some confused soul has not properly disposed.  And I pick it up, carry it to the nearest bin, and thank Mr. Finney for all the other ways he taught me by example. - Nigel Ogivie '71

Dear Mr. Finney, You were an incredible role model to me and so many others and the world is so much better for your presence. I will always remember shaking your hand at dismissal, learning the difference of a a 1st, 2nd and 3rd class citizen and of course your passion for Gilman. But my fondest memory of you is from my senior year. As a fan and supporter of the basketball team, the school had developed the reputation of being loud and raucous during games and making it harder on our opponent. We called the gym &"Deaf Dome"; and we strove each game to uphold that new tradition. One night, before tip off, you sat with us fans. You turned to me and you asked why we cheered AGAINST the other team instead of cheering FOR our team. I was simply taken aback. I never realized we were doing that. At first, like most people, i wanted to believe you didn't understand or you were out of touch, but it stuck with me. I looked at the fans behavior differently during the game that night. I thought about my behavior and support for this mean spirited "cheering";. In time, I became embarrassed and ashamed at my behavior and realized I was not living up to the standard that my family, my school and you had for me. I wish I could say I was mature enough and strong enough to have approached my classmates and talked to them about this. I realize that the conversation helped me become more mature, more open to having tough conversations and being a better human. And I will always appreciate that lesson. Thank you, sir. May you rest in peace. - Doug Kaufman '90

I remember Mr. Finley fondly when I was a senior in the fall of 1956, I made the mistake of trying to tackle Frank Riggs which resulted in what undoubtably was a concussion and me being knocked silly when he ran over me. Ever positive he said something to the effect "I wish everybody had your desire (leaving out my obvious lack of talent and coordination)"; could see the positive and everybody and there certainly wasn't any reason to dwell on my negative. - George Dowell '56

That smile with all it connotated, and the handshake and then the mock wrestling move, even upon meeting into my 60's.When Reddy asked me to be on the BEST Board, and I told him I would think about it as I was busy running a sizeable organization ,and I thought about it overnight and laughed and of course said yes-when was Reddy EVER too busy for someone else ?I felt embarrassed to have hesitated. He always led by example and you wanted to live up to that example. - Bart Baltimore '67

 

In 2004, I was blessed with the opportunity to join the Gilman Community. I am em extremely grateful to have coached at Gilman for 16 years, and each and every year I have held Mr. Finney in the highest regard. He is a true legend and  although he will be missed, he will never be forgotten. Thank you Mr. Finney for everything! - Jonathan Seal

Although I have not lived in the Baltimore area for over 50 years, my memories of the Finney family have remained indelible. Next to my own father, Reddy's father was perhaps the finest example of an accomplished physician and human being. Reddy's brother, George, Jr. gave me all of his medical school books when I entered Hopkins and followed in his father's footsteps. Reddy was the obvious extension of the family, and his competence, self confidence, and humility set the bar for what we should all strive to be. I feel blessed to have known all of them. The examples they set helped guide me throughout my career and life. - Frank Gluck '57

I started in third grade and my brother in first. He regailed me of tales of Mr. Finney standing on his head. I remember him walking around and picking up trash, pigeon toed and smiling. I remember his firm handshake and most importantly, I'll always remember him for and be thankful that he felt it was his duty to give students like me a chance. - Kwaisi Baltimore '88

In the spring of 1962, he called my family and asked if it was true that I was leaving Gilman to go to boarding school. The answer was yes. He response was, "Golly, Ned, I wanted him for our football team!" - Temple Grassi '65

My Father passed away tragically and suddenly when I was in first grade.  Because he was well known in and around Baltimore word traveled lightning fast.  Mr. Finney was the FIRST person, including family, to be at our front door.  He immediately assured my Mother that she had nothing to worry about as far as educations would go for not just myself, but also my brother who wasn't even enrolled at Gilman. Nobody's reputation is more richly deserved than RCSF. - Nelson Oster '93

 

I didn't have the fortune of being in his classes or directly coached by Mr. Finney. Fortunately, I also didn't get caught much so I didn't  have the pleasure of being called to his office for other reasons either. You may know that in our yearbook, he made a recollection for each graduate that particularly stood out in his mind. Most were accolades, some were amusing, but I was frankly disappointed to be remembered for my JV and varsity wrestling. I had some success in a number of areas but all those afternoons at Peabody Conservatory, practicing calligraphy, taking math contests, and playing chess didn't seem to matter much on Friday nights while on the mat. In ninth grade, I weighed 86 (in full dress and with my backpack) to wrestle 92. My superb reflexes and feral cunning never quite seemed to alter the immutable laws of physics. At meets, I spent a lot of time contemplating the new xenon mercury lights in the gym and during long minutes of hypoxia truly believed that they had changed the Gilman School motto to 'fight it Sube'.  Sometimes I would make it to 9 minutes, sometimes not. Exhausted, hungry and embarrassed to not have helped the team (other than avoiding a fall), it was seldom the end of the week or start of the weekend that it was for my more talented friends. Thinking back, that struggle through painful minutes not to get pinned became a calling card for a life in medicine and ophthalmology. Perseverance, hope, and the courage not to give up on any patient have, in retrospect, paved the way for many wonderful career moments but even more for those times when, despite long intricate struggles, the patient's sight could not be saved. So I press on to find new cures, new ways of doing things, and to face the next challenge. It's the best way I know to thank all those who helped along the way. I am grateful for our time together and Reddy Finney's daily example of decency, compassion, and leadership. Fight on, never give up, and seek a better tomorrow. When you're on your back, you can better see the stars. Thanks Coach Finney, I know you're up there. Ad astra. - Suber S. Huang, MD, MBA '76

We have been blessed to have so many remembrances of things large and small that Reddy Finney visited upon so many of us but I will never forget my testing day on a Saturday at the Gilman Lower School. He came up to me and my parents and in his gentle but strong way, put his hand on the nape of my neck and welcomed both me and my parents to Gilman School and made it clear what he expected from me in that new opportunity and, what we could expect from Gilman. I can still, on occasion, feel that strong hand at my back and it is something that I will forever be grateful for. - Rich Lundvall '77

Mr. Finney was so gracious to give of his time, even in his later years.  I talked with him a number of years back, when I had some difficulties.  I do not remember too much of what he said, except "help yourself.";  It was not so much the words but the fact that he cared very much.  Mr. Finney would call it "empathy";  ";And now abideth faith, hope , charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity"; (1Cor. 13:13, KJV).  I thank the Lord for him. - Robert Waters '76

I graduated before Reddy became Headmaster.  Reddy set a powerful example as a history teacher and football coach.  He demanded so much of himself.   If we handed in a history paper on Monday, he invariably handed it back by Wednesday, full of corrections, reflections, and thoughtful comments.  Our football games were on Fridays.  Invariably on Monday, our mailboxes would contain a thick sheath of mimeographed paper.  Over the weekend, he graded, and commented on, every play for every player.  His promptness and unfailing effort were inspirational.  At Princeton, Reddy was a legend when I arrived in 1966.  The head athletic trainer, Eddie Zanfrini (we called him EZ) delighted in telling  us about Reddy's epic matches against Brad Glass.  Reddy was the captain of the wrestling team, but he could not beat Glass, a future NCAA heavyweight champion.  Every Wednesday, Brad and Reddy would face one another to see who would wrestle in the Ivy League match on Saturday.  EZ told me that these titanic contests were always packed, attended by far more people than would attend on Saturday.  Brad must have been some wrestler.Reddy, as we all know, was a first team All-American in football.  He was the center In Princeton's single wing formation.  EZ told me that Reddy once centered the ball to the tailback too high, causing a fumble.  After the game, Reddy stayed for hours, centering the ball to a block embedded in the field house wall, picking up the ball, and centering it again.  He did this hour after hour. Reddy was revered by the Princeton athletic staff, and we Gilman guys had reflected status as "Reddy's Boys." For the past 50 years, I have carried Reddy around in my frontal lobe.  When I am tempted do something ignoble, I see that big head shaking and I hear him say: "Jeezie Peesey, Benson, don't do that.";  I often fall short; I can't always heed that voice, but he has made me a better man.  God Bless you Reddy. - Ben Legg '66

In the spring of 1959, the Gilman JV lacrosse team played Loyola for the MSA private school championship. Our team was comprised primarily of freshman and sophomores with maybe a few juniors sprinkled in, whereas Loyola, because their program was relatively new, was permitted to play its varsity in the JV league. When Loyola appeared at Gilman for the game, it was obvious that they were older and definitely bigger than we were, A number of them having been on the Loyola football team. Frankly, I think we were a bit intimidated. In any case we played like it in the first half and by Halftime we were losing 5 to 2. That’s when Reddy read us the riot act. To say he was upset would be putting it mildly. But he was not upset so much that we were losing but that we just weren’t playing our best, for whatever reason. In any case, his message to us was that if we did play our best we not only could win the game but we should win the game. Being thus inspired by a coach whom we respected and admired so much, we went out in the second half and Outscored Loyola 7 to 1, winning the game and the championship 9 to 6. Looking back, I think what motivated us was that we knew what Reddy expected of us, we knew he was right to expect it and we just didn’t want to disappoint him. Just a remarkable man, in so many ways. Unforgettable.
- Tom Caskey '62
 
Mr. Finney was sui generis. There was none like him and there never will be again. None-the-less, I am certain that generations of Gilman boys (including me) have attempted to emulate his leadership, integrity, intensity, passion, and compassion in our various walks of life over the last half-century. If any of us have been even remotely successful in doing so, one can only imagine the remarkable legacy that Mr. Finney has left behind.
- David Cameron '76
 
I was captain of the Gilman football team in 1961. I idolized coach Finney and would have run through a brick wall for him. He was a wonderful coach, mentor, friend , and tremendous example for all the football players and students at Gilman. I remember the summer before my senior year working with Eddie Supplee at Reddy's farm installing a large wooden fence. It took all summer and neither of us got rich digging holes, but we were absolutely buffed out by the beginning of fall practice. We even beat Calvert Hall for the first time that year. I miss Reddy and all he was.
- Randy Plummer '62
 
I have so many memories of Mr. Finney.  Thinking about him brings a smile to my face.  He was the strongest and most gentle man that I have ever known. Playing football for him on the 1965 and 1966 Gilman teams was a lesson in being wholehearted. His commitment to us was complete. He was our mother hen, our drill sergeant, our motivator, and our greatest supporter. He taped our ankles, developed efficient practices, relentlessly drilled us in the fundamentals of blocking and tackling, constructed shrewd game plans, and then made sure we were ready to play with “reckless abandon” on Fridays. “Believe in yourselves.”  On Mondays, we found a thick mimeographed play-by-play report in our mailboxes.  He let us know what we had done right and wrong.  He gave each of us a grade, and, believe me, there weren’t a lot of A’s! I don’t think he had nearly as much fun being headmaster, but he was a wonderful one – inspiring and wise for both students and teachers. One quick story from his headmaster days. Mr. Finney was well into his 50’s.  Late in the afternoon, dressed in baggy khaki pants and a flannel shirt, his preferred after school attire, he unobtrusively showed up at wrestling practice, no doubt looking to relax as an idle spectator after a tough day of dealing with the problems that make life so challenging for school administrators.  “Mr. Finney, Ty needs a partner.”  Our headmaster couldn’t refuse the bait.  A few minutes later, he was sweaty and grinning ear-to-ear, and Ty, who had new respect for the out-of-style switch, was pleased as well.  After the “live” action, Mr. Finney treated us all to a step-by-step, gung-ho dissertation on one of his favorite moves, the hammerlock. Mr. Finney loved us and believed in us, and we loved him in return. 
-      Chris Legg '67
 
We are honored to have the Finney Tunnel at the US Lacrosse headquarters, a testament to the impact he had on his players. “Play with Honor, Integrity, Respect, Humility, and Excellence” are the final words of wisdom that players see before taking the field at US Lacrosse. His legacy will live on, reminding generations of lacrosse players of what's most important.
-      Collette Dixon, on behalf of US Lacrosse
 
What a wonderful man, an amazing life, and an inspiration for us all! Mr. Finney hired me in 1990 when I was fresh out of college. I remember that he came down to meet me in Ron Culbertson’s Office in May or June of 1990. I had been given two minutes to eat a turkey club sandwich that the School had placed before me in between a stream of interviews. I did not think I could manage the five-inch-high sandwich, but since I hadn’t eaten since 5:30 that morning, I shoved a handful of potato chips into my mouth just as Mr. Finney entered the room. He graciously pretended not to notice my full mouth and warmly shook my hand and had me sit down beside him to ask me one key question, ‘Now Nicole, tell me, why do you want to be a teacher?’. I said something really profound like, ‘Well, I don’t know...I just always really wanted to be a teacher!’ I guess I made up for a lack of substance with the courage of my conviction...Mr. Finney got up, walked over to Mr. C’s assistant, Betty Scheder, and said, ‘Betty, get this girl a contract!’ I could not stop smiling from ear-to-ear. And so began my Gilman career. It is in large part Mr. Finney’s impact and his legacy that makes me proudest to be a part of Gilman School. Mr. Finney embodies the Gilman Five. I consider it an honor and a privilege to have served during his tenure. Another remarkable thing about Mr. Finney is that he always remembered people by both their faces and names. I was touched by that. Years could go by, and it never made a difference. He always greeted and treated every human being warmly and respectfully. He was a gift to all of us.
-      Nicole Kramer Mitchell
 
I loved Mr. Finney! From his pockets full of trash to his shuffling bobble-headed walk. I hated/loved sitting next to him at home wrestling matches for fear of getting accidentally decked during a particularly tough match. I had not seen Mr. Finney in many years, but he came to my father's memorial service last Spring in Baltimore with son Stewart, who was in my younger brother Fritz' class at Gilman. When I shook hands with him, he told me to call him Reddy, which I could not! When I told him that one thing that has always stayed with me from my days at Gilman was when he told my class, “Gentlemen, why go to bed late and pay when you can go to bed early for free? Life is not a marshmallow!” He grabbed me hard and fast and said quickly, “Still true, isn't it?” What a great human, none like him!
-      Lecky Haller ‘75
 
Reddy was a tremendous soul in so many ways. When my father died at the start of junior year, he took me under his wing and helped me get through a very difficult period. I had not seen Reddy since the day I graduated, yet in 2002 when he was doing a book signing for “Summers with Percy” in NE Harbor Main, I met him again. As I got to the front of the line for him to sign my copy, he looked me up and down and without hesitation said, “Jon Ehrlich, how have you been.” It amazed me that he recalled not only my name but seemingly everything about me. Rest in peace.
-      Jonathan Ehrlich ‘71
 
I recently had the chance to watch the PBS documentary on Mr. Finney’s life and the Social Justice he fought for. While watching it, I came to the realization that so much of who o am was shaped by the values he instilled in me throughout my 12 years under his leadership. My decision to send my child to what my community had labeled a failing school was motivated by my strong desire to create change and choose a more difficult path because it was the right thing to do. With hard work and a strong, dedicated community, we helped reshape the image and created a neighborhood school to be enjoyed by all. We live in one of the most diverse communities in the country. So much attributed to what I learned from Mr. Finney and Gilman. I have and will always carry those values with me!
-      Graham Ayers ‘88
 
In addition to family members and friends, Mr. Finney was a big part of whatever I've accomplished, so far, in my life. I entered Gilman in the 9th grade, in 1979, after having spent years K-8 in Baltimore City public schools. Those K-8 schools were made up almost entirely of black students. Gilman was a big change, both academically and socially, and I got off to a rocky start there. Looking back on it, perhaps I should have been asked to leave. But I guess Mr. Finney saw something in me and simply wouldn't let me screw things up, no matter how much I tried. :-) I got to know him pretty well. In fact, there was a time during my four years at Gilman, when he had me coming to see him weekly. We were supposed to talk about school work, and sometimes we did. But I recall us also talking about anything else that was on my mind. Additionally, Mr. Finney arranged for teachers to intervene on my behalf whenever I needed help with something. Over time, things improved at Gilman, and I ended up getting into Western Maryland College, now called McDaniel College. I graduated from Western Maryland back in 1987. Western Maryland was the only campus I visited before starting college. And, consistent with how he supported me throughout my time at Gilman, Mr. Finney was the one who drove me to that campus visit. I'm now a professor at Hunter College in New York City. Back in 1979-1983, the years I spent at Gilman, I never imagined I'd be doing what I do now. Perhaps, Mr. Finney did.
-      Michael Lewis ‘83
 
Mr. Finney shared valuable lessons on citizenship and character. I remember how he taught us that a first-class citizen is someone who not only doesn't litter but picks up after others who do. There are times when I will remember this lesson and pick up litter in the street. Beyond what I learned in the classroom and on the athletic field, this is one of the many ways that I proudly carry my Gilman education into the world to make it a better place.
-      Jeffrey Himeles ‘78
      
Besides being one of the nicest, kindest people I ever met, he had the strongest handshake I've ever encountered. In my eyes, he is Gilman.
-      Keith Christian
 
In the past few days, I have read many references to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class citizen speech, a great metaphor for how we should strive to live our lives. I am as fond another one of Mr. Finney's quotes - “it takes years to build a reputation and seconds to destroy it.” I feel lucky to have known Mr. Finney. I never heard anyone say a bad word about him.  I wish his family and friends well as they reflect on his beautiful life, and all of the lives he continues to touch.
-      Andy Fine ‘87
 
Mr. Finney was congealed energy with a smile.
-      George Shipp ‘60
 
My late husband worked at Gilman as a teacher, coach and in the Upward Bound program. My son's Marlon and Lamar are Gilman graduates. We are proud to have known Mr. Finney. He was an inspiration and role model for us. We often speak of him. My granddaughter graduated from Brynn Mawr School. She was accepted in the B.E.S.T. Program. So you can see Mr. Finney was all around us. He will truly be missed. Love the Martin Smith family.
-      Rachel Smith
 
Lost a great man and a good friend. R.I.P. Reddy
-      Errol Phillips, Business Manager 1975-1977
 
Redmond was a very strong leader and one of the reasons I wanted to help Gilman wrestlers become better during my early years in Baltimore 1959-68. He believed in Athletics and strong coaches that would influence young people in the best of ways both in their competitiveness in the arena but also in the classroom...The world has lost one of its best human products.
-      Leon Harbold
 
I worked with Reddy as Development Director of The Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust. The beauty of Reddy was that he always assumed that people would do the right thing, do what they said they would do, and do it in the best possible way. And because he expected it, you did it. That, and the wonderful twinkle in his eye. That was Reddy.
-      Fran Gunther Minges
 
I share with you, the Gilman School community, this brief note about the headmaster emeritus, Redmond “Reddy” Finney. I grew up running the Gilman track with my father, who lived in Roland Park and had many close friends at Gilman. We used to play badminton in the old gym and many years later, I spent plenty of time on the wrestling mats in that old gym. I loved playing football and lacrosse on the Gilman fields over the years, watching Reddy on the sidelines, and it was great to win.... I even held the Gilman School sign in my basement for a year or so, swiped by a couple of adventurous RPCS students! You see...I didn't attend Gilman. I went to McDonogh School. Reddy Finney epitomized The Gilman School in my era, period. I admired him and also wanted to beat his students in everything we competed in. My dean at McDonogh considered Reddy a good friend and always counseled me to be respectful of him and his School--however, please beat the hell out of them in competition. Reddy used to have a funny way of moving his head around--everybody knew this. When I was in college I picked up an abandoned puppy who had a funny way of moving his head around when he walked...so I named him “Reddy”, after Redmond Finney. That dog was my best friend for ten years and then I gave him to my Dad and he became his best friend for another five, when he died happy. Reddy Finney was a man of his time.
-      Fred Stuart ‘72
 
I was in the very first class of Upward Bound at Gilman School headed by Mr. Finney and Mr. Campbell. During the bus strike or 1968 he would drive a group of us drive a group of us to School before he taught at Gilman every day before he went to teach a Gilman. He was a kind considerate just man Rest in Peace Mr. FINNEY.
-      Larry M. Stewart ‘71
 
BMS Grad 2001: Out on your picnic table, Mrs. Finney brought us iced tea... we sat and talked. You asked me, ‘What are you passionate about?’ You took notes with a pencil on lined paper. Later on you would submit a hand written letter of recommendation for me for college. You were so warm and kind and easy to be around that afternoon but also incredibly intimidating... it was clear you were the definition of BIG TIME... a leader, someone so great... yet you still made me feel welcome. Now, your granddaughter is one of our favorite babysitters... a true light that shines so bright. I love that my daughters know her and love her and feel that light. 
-      Carey Fetting-Smith ’01
 
To this day, approximately 40 years after I first heard him describe it, I regularly tell people about My. Finney's taxonomy of citizens:1st-class citizens: people who pick up littler.2nd-class Citizens: people who neither little nor pick up litter. Third-class citizens: people who little. This concept applies to much more than littering. It is a powerful insight into what makes an organization or even a society work.
-      David Treadwell ‘85
 
The Finney handshake. Even as a young kid, when I met Mr. Finney for the first time, the firm handshake was the biggest memory that always stood out. Ironically, I was just teaching my own son about the Finney handshake a few days ago. Even now, whenever I give a funny handshake, it always reminds me about Mr. Finney's leadership, grace, and humility.
-      Paul Simms ‘01
 
I was a brand new Gilman student in 1984, entering the ninth grade. It was more than a bit intimidating on the first day, only knowing a few other students and entering into a new community that was already so well-established. I'll always remember how Mr. Finney welcomed me so warmly on that first day, greeting me by my first name, which caught me by surprise that he would know that so quickly. I was also pleasantly surprised that he turned out to be my 9th-grade Religion teacher that Fall, which allowed me to get to know him a bit more, and witness how embedded he truly was in the entire Gilman community. I'll always be grateful to Mr. Finney for being so instrumental in helping me acclimate to Gilman and begin to feel comfortable at my new school. May he rest in peace.
-      Jon Guth ‘87