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Obituary for John J. Finnegan

Salem – John J. Finnegan, 71, former Chief of Police in Beverly and Barnstable, died unexpectedly Sunday morning, Oct. 29, at his home in Salem. He was the beloved husband of Pamela A. (White) Finnegan and devoted father of Brian Finnegan of Glen Mills, Pa. and Jennifer Garcia of New Bern, N.C. He is also survived by his brother Daniel Finnegan, his sister-in-law Joanne Finnegan, daughter-in-law Melissa Finnegan, son-in-law Gabriel Garcia, and four grandchildren, Ava and Quinn Finnegan of Glen Mills, Pa. and Caitlyn and Nicholas Garcia of New Bern, N.C. He was also the brother of the late Patricia (Finnegan) Shaughnessy. 


Born in Everett, he was the son of the late John and Helen (Maguire) Finnegan of Revere. A U.S. Army veteran, Mr. Finnegan served in the Republic of Vietnam. He joined the Beverly Police Department as a Patrol Officer in 1970 rising through the ranks becoming a Sergeant, Lieutenant, and then Captain. He headed the department’s Criminal Investigation Division before being appointed Chief in 1985. After more than a decade as Chief in Beverly, Mr. Finnegan left the North Shore to become Chief of the Barnstable Police Department on Cape Cod, a position from which he retired in 2007. He was a graduate of Northeastern University and held a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Suffolk University. He also was a graduate of the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Development Program.
During a long and distinguished career in law enforcement, Mr. Finnegan served on the Executive Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Chairman of its Civil Rights Committee, as well as President of the Cape Cod Chiefs of Police Association. In 1995 while still Chief in Beverly, he received the Anti-Defamation League’s Law Day Award; and in 2001 as Chief in Barnstable, he received the John F. Kennedy Jr. Community Service Award presented by the Hyannis Area Chamber of Commerce.


Following retirement, Mr. Finnegan and his wife lived in Florida for several years before returning to the North Shore where he worked as a consultant in law-enforcement matters and as a Special Investigator for the U.S. State Department.
His funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church, 253 Cabot Street, Beverly, Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Visiting hours at the Campbell Funeral Home, 525 Cabot Street, Beverly, Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. Interment will be held at a later date. Contributions may be made in his memory to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284. Information, directions, condolences at www.campbellfuneral.com .