Donald Finley ’73 | Handley 100th Notable
Donald Finley ’73

Donald started school at the segregated Douglas School. He attended Quarles Elementary for 5th grade, Handley for 6th  grade, Winchester Intermediate School for 7th grade and returned to Handley for 8th-12th grades.

Donald played basketball at Potomac State College and earned a position in the school’s Hall of Fame. He transferred to Virginia Union University with a basketball scholarship and earned his Bachelor of Science in Social Work.

Donald returned to Winchester and accepted a position at Timber Ridge, a private residential treatment center for emotionally and behaviorally disturbed boys and was with Timber Ridge for the next 25 years. He was selected Direct Care Worker of Year by the National Association of Private Special Education Centers while at Timber Ridge.

After Timber Ridge, Donald worked with students dealing with anger and self-esteem issues at Handley High School as a behavior specialist for 8 years. He was a varsity basketball assistant coach for over 20 years.

He was the first Black man elected to Winchester City Council where he served for six years. Fellow councilor Harry Smith stated that Donald focused on people and the effects Council actions and decisions would have on their everyday lives.

A Deacon at Mt. Tabor Baptist Church in Bunker Hill, W.Va., he has served the community through his work on numerous committees. He has been one of the chief organizers of Frederick Douglas Park Family Day Celebration for over 30 years.

Dr. Bernard Lewis included Donald in his book “Local Heroes: Winchester, Virginia 2000 – 2010” for his contributions to Winchester community. Dr. Lewis wrote: “His life has been about accepting the gifts he received from his family and ignoring the inequity that he encountered. He has used his life experiences to help troubled teens sort out their emotional issues while serving as a role model for how to become a man of character and integrity. He has dedicated himself to promoting the importance of family and community unity.”

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