Pat Finley: 1945 – 2023

By signcraft

Posted on Sunday, October 8th, 2023

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Longtime SignCraft contributor and outstanding Chicagoland signpainter Pat Finley died tragically Saturday, September 30, 2023. He was 78.

Pat always described himself as “just a basic signpainter,” but he was much more than that. He was a great friend and a humble, warm guy who always had time to talk signs and encourage others who were interested in signpainting and pinstriping.

Pat had a style of his own—with clean, effective layouts, beautiful scripts, free-flowing casuals, great color choices. He was still working every day in the same shop that he was in when we met him in 1984, turning out hand-lettered signs and truck graphics every day, along with high impact stock car lettering.

As a teen in the late 1950s, Pat started pinstriping, which led him to signpainting. A racing fan, he started lettering stock cars and developed quite a reputation. In the late ’60s, Bob Behounek was fascinated with hand lettering and remembers discovering Pat’s work.

“At 15, I had my Dad drive me 60 miles to a racetrack to see more of Pat’s stock car lettering,” Bob says, laughing. “They looked great. He lettered a lot of them—and when they got wrecked, he lettered them again. I got to know Pat and later worked with him on plenty of projects. He was a real inspiration.”

Pat was an inspiration and mentor to many, and his loss is a big loss to the sign painting world. He was a very active member of the Chicago Brushmasters and had helped at all their charity events over the years.

We can’t think of a better way to remember Pat than by sharing a few of the features we did on his work in SignCraft over the years with everyone. We hope you’ll take a few minutes to click the articles and flip the pages to enjoy his work.

March/April 1985: Interview – Pat Finley

January/February 1989: Truck lettering: An advertising and promotional bargain

March/April 1989: Follow-up – Pat Finley

March/April 2008: Lead sleds call for heavy lines

Painting wall graphics the old school way