Cover photo for Col. Hugh Covington Finklea's Obituary
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1932 Col. Hugh Covington Finklea 2023

Col. Hugh Covington Finklea

July 30, 1932 — May 30, 2023

Baton Rouge


Col. (US Army Chemical Corps Retired) Hugh Covington Finklea passed away on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana after a nine-year courageous battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He was born July 30, 1932, in Latta, South Carolina to Alton Carl Finklea and Lora Hazel Covington.  A 1950 graduate of Latta High School, Hugh went on to receive his Bachelor of Science degree from Firman University in 1954.  While in college, he enrolled in ROTC, preparing him for the United States Army, where he was stationed in Okinawa for several years as part of the Chemical Corps.  Hugh proudly served his country, retiring from the military as a Colonel.  His experience in the chemical industry, much spent at Ciba-Geigy, led him to be a consultant for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, where he was instrumental in establishing and guiding the Environmental Leadership Program.  He retired in 2005.

He is preceded in death by his parents and his grandson, Justin Hugh Finklea.  Hugh is survived by his loving wife, Ruth Marie Poche Arnett-Finklea; his sons Lance Finklea (Christy) of Chisago City, Minnesota, and Brent Finklea (Julie) of New Orleans, Louisiana; his four stepsons Carson Arnett, Warren Arnett, Richard Arnett, and Claude Arnett (Cynthia); and seven grandchildren.  He is also survived by his brother Alton Carl Finklea (Debbie) of Latta, South Carolina; a nephew, niece, cousins, and many friends.

Hugh’s passion was singing.  He was a member of the Barbershop Quartet Society of America for over 50 years.  He participated in several choruses and quartets over the years, including the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge, where he was a member for over 30 years.  Hugh loved to travel and after retirement, he and his wife traveled throughout the United States, and all over the world including Australia, New Zealand, and multiple trips to Europe.

The family will hold a celebration of life at the family home in Baton Rouge on 11 June 2023.  Interment will be in Latta, South Carolina on 8 July 2023. 

For those so desiring, memorials in honor of Col. Hugh Covington Finklea may be made to the American Parkinson Disease Association or the Alzheimer’s Association.

Family and friends may sign the online guestbook or leave a personal note to the family at

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Celebration of Life will be held at the family home in Baton Rouge.

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