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Robert Hutchinson Finch

Birthplace: Tempe, Maricopa County, Arizona, United States
Death: October 10, 1995 (70)
Pasadena, Los Angeles County, California, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Robert Leslie Finch and Gladys Iola Hutchison
Brother of Sue Finch

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Robert Finch

Robert Hutchinson Finch (October 9, 1925 – October 10, 1995) was a Republican politician from La Canada Flintridge, California. In 1967, he served as the 38th Lieutenant Governor of California. Following Richard Nixon's presidential campaign in 1968, he was appointed Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1969. He was the Counselor to the President from 1970 until 1972. During the 1976 California United States Senate election, he lost in the Republican primary to S.I. Hayakawa.

Early life and education

Finch was born in Tempe, Arizona. He was the son of Robert L. Finch, a member of the Arizona House of Representatives, and his wife, Gladys Hutchinson. Finch was enlisted in the Marine Corps during World War II. He married the former Carol Crothers on February 14, 1946; they had three daughters and one son: Maureen F. Shaw, Kevin Finch, Priscilla Finch and Cathleen F. Morser.

After serving in the Marines briefly during World War II, Finch entered Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he graduated in 1947 with a bachelor's degree. After the graduation from Occidental College in 1947, and served as an aide to Congressman Norris Poulson. He befriended future President Richard Nixon. Following college, Mr. Finch went to Washington, D.C., where he worked as an administrative aide to Congressman Norris Poulson, representative from California. During this time, he met and became friendly with freshman Congressman Richard M. Nixon. Partly at Nixon's suggestion, Mr. Finch returned to California to study law at the University of Southern California, where he took his LL.B. degree in 1951.


He had worked on the Norris Poulsen election campaign in 1946, and on Nixon's campaign in 1948. He returned to Southern California and earned his LL.B at the University of Southern California Law School in 1951.

He was a Marine officer during the Korean War from 1951 to 1953. He ran for the Congress unsuccessfully in 1952 and in 1954 against Democrat Cecil R. King, who practiced law in Pasadena, and was the Chairman of the Los Angeles County Republican Central Committee, from 1956 to 1958. He returned to Washington as Vice-President Nixon's aide in 1958.

He was the Nixon's campaign manager in the 1960 presidential campaign, against Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy.

In 1964, Finch managed U.S. Sen. George Murphy's victorious campaign over Pierre Salinger. In 1966, Finch was elected the 38th Lieutenant Governor of California. He received more votes than Ronald Reagan, who was elected Governor at the same time. In 1968, Finch was the senior adviser in Nixon's presidential campaign and was appointed Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. In 1970, Finch left the HEW to be Counselor to the President. He left the White House on December 15, 1972, to practice law in Pasadena, and he stayed involved in the Republican politics. Even though Finch had no involvement in the Watergate scandal, references to it dimmed his efforts for elective office.

He was an unsuccessful primary candidate for U.S. Senate in the 1976 California election against S.I. Hayakawa, who went on to win the general election. During the 1968 presidential election, Finch was Nixon's first choice as his vice presidential running mate, but Finch declined and Nixon then chose Governor of Maryland Spiro Agnew. A Nixon-Finch ticket was possible because, although Nixon was born in California, and had represented California in Congress, during the 1968 election he was a resident of New York, so California's electors could have cast their votes for both men. (If they had both been California residents at time, California's electors could only have voted for one of them).

Following Nixon's election, Finch was given his choice in the new Cabinet, and he selected Secretary of HEW because of his long interest in health and education issues. Finch was more liberal than Nixon, especially on social issues, but political differences never affected their long and close relationship, with the two staying in contact until Nixon's death in April 1994.


Finch died of heart disease, in Pasadena, California, on October 10, 1995. He is interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale.


US Presidential Cabinet Secretary. He served as the 8th United States Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare during the Administration of President Richard M. Nixon from 1969 to 1970. His father was a member of the Arizona House of Representatives, Robert served with the United States Marine Corps during the closing months of World War II. Following his return home, he enrolled at Occidental College, from where he attained his Bachelor’s degree and went on to serve as an aid to Congressman Norris Poulson. During this period, Finch became friends with Richard Nixon. Finch would go on to receive his Law degree from the University of Southern California in 1951. During the Korean War, he returned to service with the Marines as an officer. After two unsuccessful bids for a US Congressional seat in California, Finch became an aid to Vice President Nixon in 1958. He served as the 38th Lieutenant Governor of the State of California under Governor Ronald Reagan (1967 to 1969) and in 1968, he became a senior advisor for Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign. He left his position of Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare in 1970 to serve as a Counselor to President Nixon. In 1972, he left Washington and resumed practicing Law in his native California. He died of complications from heart disease.

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Robert Finch's Timeline

October 9, 1925
Tempe, Maricopa County, Arizona, United States
October 10, 1995
Age 70
Pasadena, Los Angeles County, California, United States