John Finch smiling and wearing a black suit with a grey shirt, a black tie and and white name badge.

It is with sadness that we wish to announce the passing of Mr John Finch.

John Finch was the first CEO of Able Australia, formerly known as The Deafblind Association, serving from 1985 – 2002. John also served as a Committee Member of The Australian Deafblind Council from 1993 – 2002, he was a member of the Advisory Committee to the Federal Minister, Chairman of Worknet (now SensWide), was a Committee Member and Treasurer of the Victoria Division of ACROD (now National Disability Services) and also the Western Vocational Association.

John was born in Essex, England, and around moved a lot with his parents in his childhood years. He particular loved learning about history as a young boy. John also found a passion for cycling and running in his earlier years of life. A highlight of John’s schooling years was finishing second in the cross country and representing his school.

John met his future wife, Jan, at the Birmingham Railway station, and fell quickly in love. They married in October 1960, and had two beautiful children, Richard in 1962, followed by Debbie, in 1964.

John Finch had many different jobs in his life, such working for his father in his mail order business, working for the Forestry Commission where he got a traineeship, a manager at Doultons, a job making insulators, just to name a few! In 1956, he also served in the RAF (Royal Air Force) and was posted to Germany where he spent 18 months. After all this, John says that his proudest achievement was making Able Australia what it is today.

John says “I applied for a job at the ‘Deafblind Care association’ which I ran for 20 years, or as it is known today, Able Australia. I retired in 2002. When I started at the organisation, it had three houses for deaf blind people to live in and 18 staff. By the time I retired, I had 120 staff, and by the time my successor Celestine Hare retired, there were 500 staff . This was the proudest achievement of my life”.

John was a vital part of establishing what Able Australia is today. He was instrumental in establishing funding that enabled the beginning of family group homes and helped steer the direction of fundraising that saw the organisation’s development. John’s impact was far reaching, from instilling confidence in the Board to pursuing greater things for the clients being cared for. John was known to his colleagues as a pioneer and he will be greatly missed.

We send our condolences to his wife Janice, son Richard, daughter Debbie, and family.

As a last note, John’s daughter, Debbie found this beautiful quote in her father’s diary that said “Happiness is accepting that life isn’t always as we want it to be”.

Below are some more lovely photos of John throughout his life.

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