As a student, you are occasionally fortunate to have an excellent teacher who assists in clarifying the material being taught, repeatedly reaffirms that you are not a failure because you made a mistake and imparts a love of the subject matter that stays with you. If you are extremely fortunate, you also had a relationship with a special educator in whose class you may never have sat, but who nevertheless has a profound and fundamental impact on the trajectory of your life and many others around you. Redmond C.S. Finney, former headmaster at the Gilman School, was such an educator (Redmond C.S. Finney, retired Gilman School headmaster and All-America lacrosse and football player, dies, Aug. 1).
There are those who exude character and integrity by their truly unselfish, self-effacing efforts to help young people. Redmond C.S. Finney was a spirited and determined member of generational change and equity in Baltimore’s education and community activity. He was in a class of heads of schools in Baltimore that included, among others, the late Anne Healy (Roland Park Country School), Bo Dixon (McDonogh School), the late Byron Forbush (Friends School of Baltimore) and Hans Froelicher Jr. (The Park School), who neither settled for mediocrity nor condoned inequity.
Finney’s exuberant interest in the achievement of others made you especially appreciate him. He lived like his mission was not so much to teach and coach, but to create the strong but compassionate leader. He took risks in doing what he thought was right for his students, his faculty and staff, his school and Baltimore. His joy in the successes of those around him, either big or small, was palpable. As a result, those of us who had the privilege of crossing his path are better for the experience.
His death is a loss not only to his family but also to the greater Baltimore community. His likeness may never be seen again. But those who knew him owe it to continue his mission.
Stuart O. Simms, Baltimore
The writer is an attorney in Baltimore, a Gilman alumnus and former President of the Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust.