The following was written by Finn Rooney as an English assignment to “write the story of your life as an obituary” last year as a sophomore at Hazen Union High School. Rooney died on Friday, January 3 at the age of 17.
On a beautiful spring morning, in the green mountains of Vermont we lost a dear friend. Finnian Thomas Rooney passed away peacefully this weekend June 5th, 2089 in the farmhouse where he spent his fondest years. He was surrounded by those who loved him in the land he cherished. A ball game was on the radio.
Anyone who ever met Finn knew his passions were in baseball and fishing. Each he practiced whenever humanly possible. He wasn’t a religious man but he was extremely superstitious. Baseball and fishing taught him that. He confessed that his best memories were with his little brother, spending their summers playing ball in the field and fishing in every bit of water they came across.
Finn would introduce himself as a native Vermonter. However, it was the easy way of explaining things. In actuality his native roots were a bit more complicated. By the age of twelve Finn had spent his younger years living many contrasting ways of life. He was originally born in the Mission district of San Francisco, and later moved to the suburbs across the Golden Gate. At seven he moved to the farmhouse in Vermont. Before eventually returning to Vt. he would spend the next 5 years between the projects in Brooklyn and Akron, Ohio. The effects of all this moving had a very positive effect on him. Finn would reflect that seeing the country for all it’s kinds of people gave him the strong sense of empathy everybody knew him for.
He graduated Hazen Union a full time member of the Walden Fire department, except he was only able to keep that title a year before enlisting in the military. Finn was patriotic with very progressive views. He believed it should never be one or the other. “I’m not one to drink any kool-aid.” he would say. He believed in democracy, civic duty and being informed about what’s going on around you. He championed the notion that politics should never keep you from doing what is right.
After the service at age 22, he traveled down south to college. Finn was one to jump at an opportunity to try something new, he felt the south was a place he hadn’t yet got a chance to experience. He spent four baseball filled years in Mississippi, while attaining degrees in business management and international studies. His major league aspirations were not fruitful, but that never hindered his love of the game.
Finn had always longed for the family life but never wanted the adventure to end. He married a woman who felt the same way entirely. They spent years in love together enjoying life in every way they could. The adventure never ended. Finn started his own business right back home in Vermont. He then bought the farmhouse and raised 4 kids there. When the kids got old and married he helped build them houses right there on the property. The kids returned the favor back by helping cut a baseball diamond in the middle of the old neglected hay field. When it was done Shoeless Joe didn’t appear, but the spirit did when people came together on it. It was one of Finn’s proudest achievements.
Finn doesn’t have any charities he wishes to donate to. He only asks that whatever you would give normally, you give to a friend that needs it.
There will be a big potluck at the Rooney family farm August 29th, and everyone in the word’s invited. “As long as you bring food and a mitt you’re welcome. Take off your shoes in the grass and play a game of ball with a stranger. If ya can’t play, there better be enough to eat to keep you occupied. Take my ashes and put them in the garden to help the plants grow. I believe you live on through the people you love, so I don’t need a gravestone, you all better remember me in your hearts.”
The Rooney/Reese families will host a community baseball game in honor of Finn’s life on August 29, 2020. Complete details of the event and a full obituary will soon be available.
Finn was born July 31, 2002 to his Momma, Tara Reese and Dad, Alex Rooney. He leaves behind his loving parents, his beloved brother Lyle Rooney, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and so many friends from coast to coast. Finn had a special way of touching the hearts of all who knew him and while he is gone too soon, he will never be forgotten. A Memorial Service and Community Dinner will be held on Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 2pm at Hazen Union School and all are welcome. Memories and condolences may be conveyed at dgfunerals.com.
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