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Joel E. Finn

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“Joel was an extraordinary person. Although I did not know him well, our periodic encounters always left me impressed. My condolences to Ann and...Read More »
1 of 18 | Posted by: Fred Jackson - Westport, CT

“Yesterday I started reading Joel's remarkable book, " Bridgehampton Racing : From the Streets to the Bridge. I read parts of various...Read More »
2 of 18 | Posted by: Fred Rice - NY - friend

“What a pleasure to see Joel and Ann at the vintage race venues. Always an interesting race car and chat about the history. We admired his depth as an...Read More »
3 of 18 | Posted by: Tom and Scottie Yeager - Naples, FL

“Dear Ann SmithBeing retired, I was scanning the Voices newspaper today and saw the news about Joel. I wanted to send you my love and condolences on...Read More »
4 of 18 | Posted by: Frederick Cohn - Middlebury, CT

“As a consummate car man, Joel was always in high gear as he brought his incredible energy into The Pantry during his frequent morning visits. I...Read More »
5 of 18 | Posted by: Michael Ackerman - CT - Friend

“My condolences to your family on the passing of Joel. I knew Joel through license plate collecting and loved to talk plates with him. He was so...Read More »
6 of 18 | Posted by: George Kozieraadzki - CT

“I am very sorry to learn of Joel's passing. It is an honor to have known him. My best wishes to Ann and the family. ”
7 of 18 | Posted by: Ed Sanson - Solebury, PA - Friend

“Dear Ann, In sincere sympathy. Though we had a brief encounter, I will always remember the love and care you gave each other. My thoughts and...Read More »
8 of 18 | Posted by: Sandy Snabaitis - CT - Friend

“Ann and family, I was sadden to learn of Joel's passing. Brabara and I enjoyed touring in our Model-T with you on several HCCA tours and visiting...Read More »
9 of 18 | Posted by: Willard Revaz - Oxford, CT

“The consummate gentleman racer, honored researcher and author, a quick wit and , above all, a great friend. We miss you Joel - and we always will. ...Read More »
10 of 18 | Posted by: Mat and Celia Tavares - Friend

“As life goes on it seems as, if a the people you meet are special...some more than others...One of my many memories is Joel & Ann zooming thru the...Read More »
11 of 18 | Posted by: Joe Hatch - Waterbury, CT

“I am so sorry for your lost. May you find comfort in the God of all comfort because he cares for you. 1Peter 5:6-7. ”
12 of 18 | Posted by: A friend

“Dear Ann, We are saddened to here of Joel's passing. I have happy memories of being involved with Joel's racing here in Europe. A great personality....Read More »
13 of 18 | Posted by: Cedric Selzer - London UK

“Ann and family. I am so sorry to hear of Joel's passing. I didn't realize that you had moved from Roxbury. I always enjoyed our conversation at...Read More »
14 of 18 | Posted by: Linda Stanley - Roxbury, CT

“I was working the the SVRA in the early days of Vintage Racing. Joel was one of the most fun and gracious people I have ever met. A gentleman to...Read More »
15 of 18 | Posted by: John Hinds - Roswell, GA

“Ann, I'm so sorry to hear ofJoel's passing. He was an amazing man in so many different ways,loved truly by an equally remarkable wife. Prayers for...Read More »
16 of 18 | Posted by: Walt Woodward - Columbia, CT

“My deepest condolences to Ann,Stephanie,and Heather.Joel was such a great friend and mentor ..I was honored to have Joel in my life ..such an amazing...Read More »
17 of 18 | Posted by: Michael Kotos - Summerville, SC

“My deepest condolences to Ann,Stephanie,and Heather.Joel was such a great friend and mentor ..I was honored to have Joel in my life ..such an amazing...Read More »
18 of 18 | Posted by: Michael Kotos - Summerville, SC


Joel E. Finn of Bluffton, South Carolina, award-winning author, race-car driver, and computer industry pioneer, died on January 28, 2017 in Charleston, South Carolina. He was 78.

He was a loyal and generous friend, admired for his engaging stories, and a loving and supportive husband, father and grandfather.

The son of Barney and Alice Abrams Finn, Joel was raised in Syracuse, New York, and graduated from Syracuse University. He served in the US Army as a Ranger and paratrooper before beginning his career at IBM. He was subsequently chairman of several start-up companies in the computer industry.

He acquired his first car when he was ten years old and became one of the country's foremost historians of motor racing. He was the author of a dozen highly-regarded books on Ferraris and Maseratis as well as American road racing in the first half of the 20th century. Joel's book on mid-century racing in Cuba won the prestigious Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot Award for Outstanding Book of 2010 from the Society of Automotive Historians. He served as the President of the Harrah Auto Collection in Reno, Nevada, now the National Automobile Museum, during its transformation from a private collection to a public museum.

An active competitor, Joel raced for 55 consecutive years at Watkins Glen and on the storied tracks across the US and Europe. He was known for his success in Cooper, Chevron and Lotus cars and for his meticulous restoration of legendary Mercedes and Maserati race cars. In recent years, he toured scenic America in early Brass Era cars, including Simplexes and FIATs.

Joel's collection of historic automotive archives, photos, pennants, posters, early periodicals, books and memorabilia was legendary for its scope and quality. The Joel Finn Collection, pursued with passion and intelligence over 50 years, will be preserved in The Revs Institute at the Collier Museum in Naples, Florida.

He lived three happy decades at the home he designed and built in Roxbury, Connecticut, restoring the ridges and vistas of Moosehorn Valley, now protected through conservation easements. He spent his final years at his home in Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina.

He is survived by his devoted wife Ann (Ann Y. Smith); two daughters, Heather Marney, of Danville Pennsylvania, and Steffanie Finn of New York City; as well as two granddaughters, Erica and Jaclyn Marney. He is also survived by two sisters, Linda Bergeron and Donna Price, both of Florida. He was predeceased by his oldest daughter, Melanie Finn Winchester.

A celebration of Joel's life will be held in Palmetto Bluff on Sunday, May 21, 2017.

Memorial contributions may be made in his honor to the "Dr. Jeremy Schmahmann Research Fund" at Massachusetts General Hospital, 125 Nashua Street, Boston, MA 02114, to the Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust, P.O. Box 821, 06757 Kent, CT, or to The Revs Institute at the Collier Museum, 2500 S. Horseshoe Drive, Naples, FL 34104.