In 1989, the newest Maples school was officially opened, named Constable Edward Finney School.
At a recent social gathering at this popular K to 5 school, one of the area parents casually asked, "Who was Const. Finney?"
Turns out he was an amazing North End citizen who left an enviable legacy.
Finney joined the West Kildonan Police Dept. in 1961, which became part of the Winnipeg Police Dept. in 1972. He was in charge of the Seven Oaks school patrol and safety program.
This super-friendly policeman visited all the area schools. He assisted the teachers and students by doing a series of presentations on community safety tools, including street patrol and traffic hazards.
"He had the biggest smile, and he was quick to get the attention of the students and teachers. He inspired the children. But, above all, he was an instructor and a policeman," said Bill McGowan, veteran Seven Oaks school trustee.
Const. Finney’s wife, Eleanor Finney, recalled that, "when the school kids recognized Edward in church they would come and sit with him. The kids took to him easily."
Const. Finney’s other claim to fame was that he played a leading role in capturing of Ken Leishman, Winnipeg’s most famous bank robber, in October 1966.
The police department wanted to promote Finney to another district. However, there was a huge outcry from the community against the move.
"Const. Finney inspired unusual respect and devotion from the students and the community," former Winnipeg police chief Herb Stephen said.
Const. Finney received several community services awards, including the Lieutenant Governor’s Citizens Award in 1978. Sadly, he was struck with terminal cancer in the prime of his life in 1986. His death was a big blow to the community.
Before he succumbed to his illness, Const. Finney was informed that the Seven Oaks School Division’s board of trustees had voted unanimously to name the new Maples area school for him, as a tribute = the children and the community.
Derek Dabee is a community correspondent for The Maples. You can contact him at email@example.com.