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Obituary for John I. Finney III

2017-11-15 16:40:42.519533+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

A long time ago (late 1980s, early '90s), in a place far, far away (Chattanooga, TN), there was an online community. Some members of that community left their computers hooked up to phone lines so that others could dial in and leave messages (a "Bulletin Board System", or "BBS"), and those computers talked to each to send messages between users who frequented one or the other.

Many, perhaps most, users of those systems used pseudonyms. "The Old Man" was central to that larger community, he was also very active in connecting those computers to the outside world: we pooled together and paid phone bills to the computers which dialed out to other areas to exchange messages with the larger world, and I remember John coordinating the reimbursement of monthly thousands of dollars long distance bills to expand this community to the broader world.

John was incredibly welcoming and helpful to new people coming into the community. He was cranky and curmudgeonly and an old softy, who bore the trauma of his Vietnam war experiences without complaint, though sometimes the hurt leaked through. He gave selflessly to coordinate this vibrant space, which was then wiped out into irrelevance when the Internet came through.

I lost contact with him when I left Chattanooga, and actually thought he'd died some years ago. I remember him fondly.

Obituary for John I. Finney III

[ related topics: Star Wars Technology and Culture Invention and Design History Space & Astronomy Chattanooga Net Culture Community ]

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#Comment Re: Obituary for John I. Finney III made: 2017-11-15 20:14:06.161496+00 by: Larry Burton [edit history]

I went to high school with him and his brother, Robert. Years later I had some classes with him at Chattanooga State. Later he taught me a lot of things about Fidonet. I haven't seen him or spoken with him in years but I regularly would remember something about him. My deepest sympathy goes to his family over their loss.

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