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Eugene J. Finucane, a retired U.S. Postal Service manager and a leader in the Knights of Columbus, died Friday (Oct. 19, 2001) in Mercy Hospital after a brief illness. He was 79.

The West Seneca resident retired from the Postal Service in 1981 after 35 years of service. He began his career as a letter carrier and later held numerous positions in branch management and customer service, all in the Buffalo area.

A graduate of St. Teresa's School and South Park High School, Finucane attended Bryant & Stratton Business Institute.

In 1942, he was accepted into the Army Air Forces Aviation Cadet Program. After qualifying as an aerial gunner and graduating from advanced navigation school, he received his wings as a second lieutenant. He was assigned to the 38th Bomb Group in England and was later promoted to first lieutenant after completing 35 missions over Europe.

He received numerous awards and honors, including the Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, the European Theater Campaign Ribbon with five battle stars, a Presidential Citation and the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross. He remained in the reserves for several years after World War II and was recalled to active duty for a brief time during the Korean War.

Finucane will be remembered for his involvement and leadership in the Knights of Columbus, where he was a member of Nash Council in South Buffalo since 1957. He was a past grand knight and held numerous positions at the state level. He was also a member of the Monsignor Toomey Assembly.

He was also a member of Post 735, American Legion; the Veterans of Foreign Wars; and the National Association of Retired Federal Employees. He served on the board of directors of Baker Victory Services and was a board member at Our Lady of Victory Hospital.

He was active in St. William's Catholic Church, where he served as a Eucharistic minister.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, the former Mary Lou Miller; a son, Daniel M. of West Seneca; a daughter, Barbara A. Calorico of Hamburg; a sister, Molly DeZastro of Buffalo; and six grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in St. William's Church, 1 Arcade St., West Seneca. Entombment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, Lackawanna.

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