Businesswoman and philanthropist Elsie Franz Finley, sister of the late Robert “Bob” Franz, passed away on August 14 at the age of 97. There will be a Memorial Mass for her on Tuesday, September 18, at 2:30 p.m., in the Chapel of Christ the Teacher. A reception will follow in the Bauccio Commons Boardroom. University president Rev. Mark L. Poorman, C.S.C., will be the presider and Rev. E. William Beauchamp, C.S.C., president emeritus, will be the homilist.
Elsie, a lifelong resident of Portland and Vancouver, Washington, was preceded in death by her husband Don Finley, her brother Bob, and by her parents Joseph Franz and Elizabeth Streib Franz.
“Elsie was a very humble woman, but one whose generosity over her lifetime has left a lasting legacy for the University of Portland community,” said Fr. Poorman. “She was a dear friend and we will deeply miss her.”
Elsie grew up in the Laurelhurst neighborhood and later moved to Milwaukie. After graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in business administration, she went to work for the family-owned First State Bank of Milwaukie alongside her brother, Bob Franz, and her husband, Don Finley. In 1982 Pacific Western Bank merged its subsidiary banks to form PacWest Bancorp and a merger with KeyCorp followed in the mid 1980s.
As generous contributors, Elsie and her brother Bob had an enormous impact throughout Oregon and Washington, especially at the University of Portland and Providence Health & Services. A Life Regent of the University, she is remembered as a quietly dedicated philanthropist whose focus on Catholic causes left an indelible legacy on our campus and in the City of Portland.
In 1995, Elsie and Bob gave a gift that enabled Franz Hall to be built, which transformed academics at the University of Portland. They later established the Franz Chair in Entrepreneurship and the Franz Center for Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation. Their intent, as Bob said, was to help make the University “one of the major educational institutions on the West Coast. In order to do that, somebody had to step forward.”
Most recently, Elsie Franz Finley’s generosity furthered the support her brother’s estate had established for the Franz Campus and enabled the School of Nursing to make much-needed renovations to its lab and simulation spaces.
Our prayers and condolences to Elsie’s family and friends and many admirers.