IN THE days when people had their televisions repaired instead of throwing them away, Owen Finch was the man many Wagga people turned to.
Mr Finch came to Australia from England as a 10 pound Pom with his parents in 1927, when he was four years old.
On leaving high school in Sydney at 16 he joined the army at the outbreak of World War II, lying about his age in order to enlist.
He served in the artillery in Darwin during the 320 days of the bombing of Darwin and was seconded to British Intelligence, leading a team behind the Japanese lines in Burma and Southern China. His group was one of several able to smuggle food to the prisoners of war working on the death railway between Burma and Thailand.
He had a very difficult and violent war and suffered undiagnosed post traumatic stress disorder for the rest of his life.
It was 30 years before he would even watch the Anzac Day march.
On returning to Sydney from Thailand, he was unable to afford to go to university and so completed his Diploma in Electronics and obtained a job on the railways.
He was transferred to Wagga where he met Shirley King, who was working as an announcer for radio station 2WG. The couple married in February, 1950.
Mr Finch soon left the railways and founded his business – The Car Radio Centre. He and his great friend Stew Bailey built up a very successful business over the years, installing radios, repairing and selling TVs and Hi Fi gear.
Mr Finch was very involved in the community and was an active member of the Wagga School of Arts, playing varied roles on and behind the stage. He performed in the first production at the new Civic Theatre – Oklahoma.
Mr Finch was active in the archery club, and as an amateur geologist and photographer pushed the boundaries in both fields at the local level.
Mr Finch and his family left Wagga in 1973 and settled in Caloundra in Queensland, where he died peacefully on September 25.
His wife pre-deceased him.
Mr Finch is survived by his three sons Stephen, Marcus and Anthony.