Ernest Dayle ‘Buddy’ Fincher
ALBANY — Lt. Col. (retired) Ernest Dayle “Buddy” Fincher, 85, of Albany, a native and former County Judge of Shackelford County and a veteran of the United States Air Force died on Sept. 5, 2018. After a valiant two month battle with cancer, Buddy Fincher went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His devotion to his family and his firm belief in Jesus Christ supported him in his journey and gave him great peace.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Joanne Fincher, Sept. 2, 1995; a brother, Wallace Pickens Fincher, Aug. 18, 1929, 15 months; and older sister, Lynette Myers, Dec. 24, 1997.
Survivors include his wife, Peggy; two sons, Michael and wife Patty of Hurst , Mitchell and wife Pam of Austin; four grandchildren, Annagrace Small and husband Steven of Houston, Jeremiah and wife Emily of Fort Worth; Sarah and Rachel Fincher of Austin; four great-grandchildren, Kingston and Sawyer Small and Joy and Josiah Fincher; a sister, Barbara Craig Kelly of Abilene, and numerous nieces and cousins; children by marriage, Beckie Gates and husband George of Plattsburgh, NY, Lisa Demary and husband Mark of Merritt Island, FL, Chareece Teague and husband Bobby of Wichita Falls, TX; grandchildren by marriage, April Majewski, Gretchen Russick, Mackenzi Demary, and Tori and Courtland Teague; and four great-grandchildren, Dylan Morris and Asher, Abigail, and Judah Russick. Buddy was born June 3, 1933 in Fort Griffin to Theron Pickens “T.P.” and Lurline Wallace Fincher. The family later moved to Albany. He graduated from Albany High School in 1950 and from Texas A&M University in 1954. He married Joanne Grace Sievers, his high school sweetheart, in Albany and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force in 1954. He took graduate courses through George Washington University before stopping to serve in the Vietnam War in 1969. He was an F4 pilot stationed in Da Nang, Vietnam and later a member of the Airborne Command Post based in Udorn, Thailand.
He served as a fighter jet pilot for 24 years and logged about 5,000 hours, including over 1,100 combat hours in which two out of three pilots did not survive. As part of the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron, his unit supported NATO operations from 1963-1970 and also established a C-130 Operation in Panama to support South and Central America in 1976. He served in Europe, France, Germany, Vietnam, Thailand, and at Dyess AFB in Abilene where he was Chief of the Operational Training Division of the 463rd Tactical Airlift Wing.
Upon retiring from the service in 1977, he moved to Albany and served as Shackelford County Judge for nine years while continuing farming and ranching operations that he had begun in 1957. He was a 1977 charter member of the Kiwanis Club in Albany. He formed the Shackelford Water Supply Corporation in 1978 and served as board president for 32 years. He initiated the transfer of the non-profit Water Supply Corporation to a Special Utility District in 2010, which currently serves five counties.
Buddy met Jesus Christ in April of 1972. He became a member of Gideons International and supported this ministry since 1980. In 1996, Buddy went to Mexico, where he helped build two churches. He also went on mission trips to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Haiti, India and Russia, where he was involved with “The Promise Production.” Buddy served as Interim Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist in Breckenridge, TX from 1992 to 1998. He then served as Pastor of Abundant Life Family Church in Breckenridge. While pastoring there, he married Peggy June Nail of Wichita Falls. They continued in the pastorate in Breckenridge until 2015. Following this, they became members of Bethel Assembly in Albany. They lived as a couple in Albany for the past thirteen years where they have served Jesus Christ. Buddy continued to testify to others about the love of God until he went home to be with his Lord. We held “A Celebration of Life” service for Buddy Fincher at the Bethel Assembly in Albany at 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 8. Services have been entrusted to Morehart Mortuary.
In lieu of flowers, please donate Bibles in Buddy’s name to the Gideons International, PO Box 1442, Breckenridge, TX 76424.