Viola B. Finnegan, 87, of Independence, died Tuesday, May 15, 2018, at Lexington Estates Care Center in Independence.
Viola was born April 4, 1931, the daughter of Carl C. and Hallie (Huffman) Smith. She attended Ionia schools, and was a 1949 graduate of Nashua High School. On Nov. 4, 1950, she was united in marriage to the love of her life, Jerry A. Finnegan, at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Ionia. They made their home in Ionia, prior to moving to Charles City in 1955. In 1973, the family moved to Independence and started the Finnegan Auto Parts Corp. Viola purchased a schoolhouse that was located behind the Buchanan County Court House and moved it to its current location. After renovating the schoolhouse and adding a hallway to Finnegan Auto Parts, she opened the Little Red Schoolhouse in Independence in the 1980s. She spent several years serving on the parish council at St. John's Catholic Church in Independence and was an active member in the Sew & Sews.
She was a talented artist, spending countless hours quilting and painting. She even taught classes in painting at the Little Red Schoolhouse. She enjoyed all the arts and crafts she did throughout the years, but her family was where her heart was. She took an active role in her grandchildren's lives. Teaching them art, baking and sewing were among the activities they did together.
Viola is survived by her children, Michael (Sue) Finnegan, Clear Lake, Mary (Scott Holmes) Finnegan, Hudson, Wis., James (Joan) Finnegan, Independence, and Theresa Finnegan, Shakopee, Minn.; her grandchildren, Christopher, Patrick, Nick, Tom, Katie and Jackie Finnegan, and Grady and Casey Finnegan-Holmes; a sister, Edna Carroll, Pueblo, Colo.; and many nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, May 18, at St. John's Catholic Church in Independence with Father David Beckman presiding. Burial will be held at St. Boniface Catholic Cemetery in Ionia. A visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Reiff Funeral Home & Crematory in Independence. A parish vigil service will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday.
To leave an online condolence, please go to www.reifffuneralhome.com under obituaries.