Dr. Mary Ellen Finger, 65, co-owner with her husband, Dave Vickery, of Horsemen Trail Farm in Philipstown, died Feb. 8, 2017.
Born in Larned, Kansas on Dec. 30, 1951, she was the daughter of Leonard and Agnes (Bondracek) Finger. She graduated from Kansas State University, where she was one of only four women in her class, with a doctorate in veterinary medicine. She also later held a license in massage therapy.
Dr. Finger moved to New York City, where she founded the East Village Veterinary Clinic. She retired in the early 1990s after a cancer diagnosis and moved to the 20-acre Horsemen Trail Farm, off Route 9 in the North Highlands, with the goal of providing healthy food for herself and her family. Her mantra of “let good food be your medicine” was a driving force in her life.
Mary Ellen’s father instilled in her the idea that land is always a good investment, and she had a passion for real-estate development. She bought and sold properties in Philipstown and New York City, including a derelict East Village building she converted into a 12-unit condominium with space for her family and veterinary clinic. She met her husband while working on a house renovation at 4 Garden St., in Cold Spring.
Her insatiable thirst for health knowledge was evidenced by her passion for books, workshops and conferences as a participant or speaker. Locally she served on the boards of the Putnam County Agricultural and Farm Land Protection Board and the Philipstown Planning Board. She also had a keen sense of adventure and traveled extensively, carefully planning each trip with an emphasis on being as thrifty as possible.
Besides her husband, she is survived by her mother, Agnes Finger of Larned; her children, Johanna Altmann and Leonard Altmann, both of Cold Spring; her brothers, Mark Finger of Lawrence, Kansas, Tom Finger of El Dorado, Kansas, and Greg Finger of Belpre, Kansas; and her sisters, Margaret Scheufler of Sterling, Kansas, Susan Latimore of Larned and Phoenix, and Julie Borchardt of Walpole, Massachusetts.
Mary Ellen’s drive to educate people about their health choices led her and her husband to co-found the Red Chapel Center, a facility which includes the historic red chapel building that the couple purchased in 2014 and relocated from Route 9D to the farm. The center will include a Sustainable Living Library and the Kaqun oxygen bath therapy spa. Memorial contributions or investments may be made at redchapelcenter.com. For more information, call 845-590-8846.