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Updated at 12:52 P.M., Tuesday Dec. 29

William A. Fink, aka “Bill,” was an Auto Shop teacher at Madison High School, affectionately known by his students for always wearing a white shirt and tie beneath a lab coat, according to a death notice.

The U-T notice said he died of congestive heart failure on Dec. 4 at home, accompanied by his tender, loving wife Suzanne “Zan,” also referred to as his “soul mate.”

William A. Fink. Photo via Legacy.

“Mr. Fink was a great Auto Shop teacher. He was there and then Mr. Dyson took his place in my Junior year,” wrote one of Bill’s students, Larry McCain, in a message to Legacy.com. “We all missed having him as our teacher. He would tell us great stories about his past but was always in the weird white shirt. It was great. I will truly miss him now that he is gone. To his family you had a great person to love.”

At the young ripe age of 17, Bill sought permission from his parents to join the  and serve in World War II, said the notice. His service included acting on behalf of the peace keeping services in the Philippines.

The notice said, “His faith in God and his loving, caring nature were evident to whomever he spoke – he never met a stranger and he became a friend to all.”

Bill was married twice in his life, according to the U-T notice. The man was lucky enough to meet both of them on blind dates. First, Thelma Thurman won his heart in 1950, after they were set up on a date in Chicago. Bill was only 22 at the time and Thelma was 19. Together they had a son, Rick, and lived in a Quonset hut. According to the death notice, the hut was located the Marine Corps base in Cherry Point, NC. After Thelma’s passing in 1980, Bill eventually met Suzanne on yet another blind date, said the notice.

The U-T notice said he was soon sent to Korea where he served as an MP and a sharpshooter. It wasn’t too long before they transferred the family, along with their darling infant Laura to San Diego, where they settled down in Mission Beach. According to the notice, Bill became a drill sergeant at Camp Pendleton.

“Like so many others, they loved San Diego and never left,” said the U-T Notice. “Because he missed his wife and children, Bill resigned from the Marine Corps and was honorably discharged after “13 years, 1 month and 2 days” (a fact he never forgot) in order to pursue a college education to become a high school teacher.”

Once he graduated from San Diego State College in only two years, he began working as an auto shop teacher at Madison High School, said the U-T notice.

The U-T notice said, “Bill is survived by his wife, Zan; son, Richard Fink (Vicki); daughter, Laura Fink Cohen (Philip); step-daughter, Kristie George (Chris); step-son, Brian Jensen (Laurie); grandchildren, Megan Cohen Trezza (Michael), Justin and Sydney Cohen; Jonathan Fink (Amanda), David Fink (Cristina), Joshua Fink; Jenna, Andrew and Erika George; Nicholas, Emma and Jack Jensen; great-granddaughter, Penelope Jean Fink; and many nieces and nephews.”

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