Retired Chief Justice Ernest Adophus Finney Jr. will lie in repose from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. today at the Rotunda of the South Carolina Supreme Court.

After 2 p.m., the public may pay their respects from 3 until 7 p.m. today at Palmer Memorial Chapel in Columbia.

A public visitation service will be held from 4 until 7 p.m. on Friday beginning with the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Omega rites at the Neal Jones Auditorium on the campus of Morris College in Sumter, followed by a public viewing.

The public funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the James and Dorothy Z. Elmore Chapel followed by a private interment.

The first African-American Chief Justice, Judge Finney was dedicated to education and social justice, beginning his legal career with little fanfare but with a mixture of hard work and perseverance that led to numerous years of public service. Highlights of his career included being one of the first African-Americans elected to the South Carolina General Assembly since the 19th century, serving in the House of Representatives from 1973 to 1976, at which time be became the first African-American circuit court judge in South Carolina. He was elected as associate justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court on April 3, 1985, and historically elected as chief justice on May 11, 1994.

Judge Finney leaves to cherish precious memories: his bride of 64 years, Frances D. Finney; his three children, Ernest A. (Tammy Harper) Finney III, Lynn Carol Nikky (Tonia Poteat) Finney and Jerry Leo (Elaine Gilliam) Finney; five grandchildren, Amanda Catherine Finney, Felicia Victoria Finney, Jerry Leo Finney Jr., Colleen Teresa Finney and Daniel Matthew Finney; a stepmother, Geneva B. Finney; the Brown-Mays family; and a sea of other Finneys that stretch from Virginia to New Jersey and everywhere in between. He also leaves behind a host of former students, friends, colleagues, secretaries and good buddies, people who smiled his way and outstretched their hand to help and celebrate his long, luminous life.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Ernest A. Finney Jr. Fund established by a generous first gift by Ernest A. Finney Jr. and Frances Davenport Finney 25 years ago to support scholarships for deserving Claflin University students at the sacred place where they began their lives together.

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