Keith Finley Passes — Former Publisher of The Beacon and Owner of OB Books

by on July 10, 2023 · 5 comments

in Ocean Beach

It’s with sadness that we report that Keith Finley, 60, passed away peacefully on June 18, 2023.

Keith is remembered as a very prominent, if not soft-spoken, figure in Ocean Beach back in the late 80s and early 90s. In 1987, he began publishing The Beacon — a real community newspaper for OB and Point Loma — and later sold it to a small-newspaper publishing group that still prints it under the basic same name.

Keith also owned Ocean Beach Books, a secondhand bookstore specializing in used, out-of-print, rare, and antiquarian hardcover and paperback books for nearly two decades. And for years, it was the only bookstore in OB. Most recently Keith was employed as a manager with the People’s Food Co-op.

He had also earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from Point Loma Nazarene University.

According to the memorial tribute to Keith:

He was born in 1962 in Wooster, OH, to Dwight and Nyda Finley. He was a graduate of Triway High School, where he played varsity football, and in San Diego. …

In his later years, Keith spent virtually all of his vacation time traveling to Germany to visit his beloved children.

He enjoyed camping and listening to old Flamenco music, and even bought himself a guitar to teach himself the music style.

He also liked to quote lines from the TV show M*A*S*H on a whim.

He is survived by his two children Isabelle Finley, Connor Finley, and ex-wife Kelly (Jörg) Haensel all of Düren, Germany. Siblings include Dwilene (Gary) Young, Kokomo, IN; Ken (Donna) Finley, Tulare, CA; Diane (Rick) Rowe, Wooster; Sharon (Scott) Lowe, Mansfield, OH; Beth (Gabe) Landon, Wooster; in addition to four nieces and four nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Interment will be in the Peaceful Forest in Düren, Germany. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Sharp HospiceCare at Online condolences and memories may be shared with the family at

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

David July 11, 2023 at 7:36 pm

Keith was one of the highest integrity, brilliant, hard working people I have ever known.


Frank Gormlie July 12, 2023 at 9:31 am
Nanci Kelly July 13, 2023 at 3:19 pm

Some of my best memories of life in OB are hours spent in OB Books, searching through his wonderful collection and talking with him about books and life (we had our children at about the same time, so the kids were always a major topic). One of my saddest days in OB was when he closed down. David (above comment) described him perfectly. Thanks for all you brought to our community Keith.


Ronda Wiest July 13, 2023 at 6:55 pm

Keith was a sweet and gentle soul, who wasn’t afraid to disagree with another point of view, but always did so with kindness. I will always remember his apologetic little giggle. I am sad that his life ended so young. We, PLNC friends, were blessed to have Keith as a friend.


Colleen Dietzel July 18, 2023 at 8:55 pm

So sad to hear this. He made a great contribution to Ocean Beach with his bookstore and publishing the Beacon. I will miss his sweet presence at Peoples.


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