October 7, 1946 - August 5, 2017
Joseph Henry Finger Sr. of D'Hanis, age 70, passed away Saturday, August 5, 2017.
Born October 7, 1946, in San Antonio, he was the son of Joseph Fritz and Leona Henrietta Poerner Finger.
He graduated from Del Rio High School and received his Bachelor's degree from Southwest Texas State University. Upon his graduation he worked in retail for five years, before joining the State Farm family as an agent in San Antonio for the past 37 plus years. One career was not enough for Joe, he and Linda also ran several other family businesses to include; The County Mart of D'Hanis, the family ranch and the San Antonio Spurs Stat Crew.
Joe was also strongly involved in his local community: he served on the school board for many years, D'Hanis Youth Association, D'Hanis Lions Club, several Holy Cross Catholic Church committees, as well as supporting local fundraisers.
He was an avid Spurs fan, loved the team and enjoyed working with his Stat Crew for the NBA and WNBA teams.
He is preceded in death by his parents; brother, Joseph; and Goddaughter/niece, Alexa Jo Wolf.
Joe is survived by his soulmate and love of his life of 37 years, Linda C. Rose Finger; son, Joseph H. (Leah) Finger Jr.; daughter, Kristina Finger; and stepdaughter, Karol Heinen, all of D'Hanis; grandchildren, Kaileigh Heinen, Christian Kowalik, Jayden Puente, Keira Kowalik, Jackson Cross, Carter Finger, and Sage Finger; brother, Louis J. (Sharon) Finger of Tomball; and sisters, Carolyn M. Bell of San Antonio and Jane F. (Ned) Wolf of Lincolnton, NC; and nieces and nephews.
Rosary will be recited at 9:30 a.m., followed by Memorial Mass at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, August 12, at Holy Cross Catholic Church, followed by a celebration of Joe's life and reception at the church hall.
The family suggests memorials may be made to D'Hanis Lions Club in memory of Joe Finger.
A TRIBUTE TO JOE FINGER
From the San Antonio News-Express by Roy Bragg
Spurs stat man left legacy of love
Joe Finger saw the end coming.
Unbeknownst to Linda Finger, his wife of 37 years, the longtime Spurs statistician and D’Hanis community leader spent the last weeks of his life with other townspeople to pass on information, suggestions and life advice.
“After his funeral,” she said Tuesday, I had grown men crying, coming up to me and telling me Joe had pulled them to the side weeks and months ago, giving them instructions on how to handle problems that came up in their lives.”
Finger, 60, died of complications from heart disease on August 5. He was buried Sunday.
As recently as late July, Finger gave son Joseph specific instructions for handling the estate of Finger’s mother, who passed away recently.
Most of the mourners packing Holy Cross Church considered themselves close friends of Finger, a final sign of how he impacted the world.
Guys like Joe Finger are cut from a different cloth. Theirs is a life of service to others. They don’t seek fame. They seek challenges. They don’t waste their time on activities that don’t help others. They don’t say things that aren’t true and constructive. If Joe Finger was your only friend, that’s all the friend you would need.
Finger split his time between his official and unofficial family.
One was in D’Hanis, where he owned The Country Mart grocery store, the adjacent bar and worked cattle on his ranch. The family last year launched a brand of beef jerky, called “Fat Joe’s”, named after him. A caricature of Finger -- gray beard, gray mop-top hair, big smile – adorned each package.
Finger had been a school trustee and was active in several community and faith-related organizations. His State Farm insurance agency, albeit in San Antonio, was also part of his life.
Finger’s San Antonio family met for a meal 90 minutes before every Spurs game in the AT&T media and staff dining room. This was where the Spurs statistical crew, many of who Finger had trained in his 37 years on the job.
But it was more than work. He and other stat crew members knew each other as well as any group of friends, sharing stories about their other lives.
“We’d go sit someplace after the meal and talk about what was going on in our lives”, said Bob Howen, who hired Finger for the job.
“I don’t mean to downplay what was going on on the court, but after all that time, it was more about people.”
The job, however, was still a big deal.
“In our first meeting,” said Tony Uminski, who briefly for the stat crew, ‘Get it right the first time.’ ”
“He shot from the hip,” said Howard Brown, another stat crew member. “He was a very straightforward guy. If he had something on his mind, he told you. He wasn’t condescending. But he told you.”
In recent years, Howen said, Finger’s health had worsened.
Finger, his wife said, was born with a heart defect that was known, but not officially diagnosed until 12 years ago. He went to a doctor at the urging of family.
“I remember what he said, ‘Be careful what you wish for’, ” Linda recalled.
Doctors found a series of heart issues and gave Finger a short time to live.
From then on, as was Finger’s way, this became a family joke. Every year, Finger said, he asked God for an extension and it was granted. The family continued to build out the businesses, take vacations and go about its daily routine.
Two months ago, Linda said her husband told her God appeared to him and told him there would be no extension this year and that he should make final plans.
A month ago, Finger moved all of his business records out of his office and to his home. He bid his employees goodbye. He wrapped up his home project too.
“He made sure he built my carport”, Linda said.
Finger fell ill on Aug. 3. He felt bad and looked worse. Family members had to call a family friend, an emergency room nurse from a neighboring town, who in turn talked Finger into seeking medical care.
He never returned to D’Hanis.
In the predawn hours of Saturday, Aug. 5, doctors told the family Finger’s condition had deteriorated to the point where he wouldn’t get any better. He had emphasized to family that he didn’t want a life hooked up to machines and tubes.
Family members said their goodbyes. Then it was Linda’s turn.
“I love you,” she told the unconscious Finger.
With that, a single tear rolled down his cheek.
And then, Joe Finger was gone.