Dr. Frederick (Rick) Finke

dr. frederick (rick) finke
Dr. Finke’s life of service and love ended April 26, 2023, after complications from open heart surgery. Rick was born at the Ohio State University Hospital on April 6,1945, son of Dr. Fred and Betty Finke. His Buckeye roots started early and lasted his whole life. He loved OSU football! During Rick’s senior year at Columbus West High School he began dating Janet Mitchell. It was a love lasting 60 years, 57 of them as a married couple. Their first son, Frederick Wayne (Rick W.) was born during his final year of medical school. After graduation and an internship he joined the U.S.Navy where he served for two years in Virginia. Douglas Todd (Doug)was born during their last year there. Fifty years ago the family moved to Nashville, TN, for Rick to do a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt University. Upon completing the program he set up a solo private practice. Before retiring in 2017, he delivered close to 7000 babies. He loved his patients and helping them to bring new life into the world. It was only during the last few years of his practice that he joined a wonderful group of fellow OB/GYN doctors. Rick had a servant’s heart. He was loving, compassionate, kind, sincere and caring. He loved Janet and his boys, giving them all the help and support he knew how to do, for every moment of his life. Over the years he served in many volunteer positions from his own high school clubs to board memberships at his children’s schools, to small community rescue squads, the different churches he attended, and most recently with Rotary. He “made rounds” in his retirement with Jake and Butter, his Golden Retrievers, going to retirement centers and telling jokes and puns as the dogs comforted residents and staff. Rick may hold a record for the number of jokes and puns he told and for how often he told them. He had a quick wit and was never shy about sharing it. The family would like to thank all of you who endured some of these and remained his friend anyway. He loved the smiles they brought, even if accompanied by eye rolls from some of the family. Dr. Rick was preceeded in death by his parents, his son, Rick W., his mother and father-in-law Venita and J.W. Mitchell, who were like his own parents. He is survived by his wife, Janet, his son, Doug, many dear friends, neighbors, colleagues, his Texas and Ohio relatives, and GraceAnn and Virginia Glisson who knew and loved him as “Papa Rick.” Rick did not want a funeral or memorial service but asked us all to remember him and “Live, Love, Laugh as much as possible. Give yourselves to others. Spread kindness always. Blessings to you. Your Old Buckeye Friend.” In honor of Rick, his son, Doug, requests you tell the worst pun you know to the first person you see who could use a smile. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association at www.heart.org or Ronald McDonald House of Nashville, 2144 Fairfax Ave., Nashville, TN 37212 Arrangements in the care of Compassion Funeral & Cremation Services, 6949 Charlotte Pike, Suite 104 (615) 857-9955. We are proud to be West Nashville & Bellevue's only locally owned burial and cremation provider.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Q: What will you never forget about Dr. Frederick (Rick)? A: The kindness he always showed to patients and nurses.He always came in either a smile and a(funny) little joke and if you worked on Saturday, donuts. I always got a birthday from him he never forgot.His birthday was April 6th mine April 7th.i told him he was older than me because his birthday came first. That isn’t true but fun to say Rest in Peace Sweet Friend Until we meet again

  2. It was my pleasure to get to know Rick through the Brentwood Rotary Club. I was able to share in many stories and of course jokes that Rick shared at our meetings. As I got to know Rick better I realized what a caring and giving person he was through his work and personal life. He certainly was an example of a Rotarian in that he provided “Service Above Self”,

  3. I started going to Dr Finke in 1978. I stayed with him until he retired. I have never had a Dr that cared more about his patients than he did. I will always love this man. Not many like him 😪

  4. Q: How did you meet Dr. Frederick (Rick)? A: We met in’76 during my residency. Always helpful. He delivered my daughter Betsy in ‘84. He was always my friend. Always had good advice. A wonderful OB and a even better companion. We shared so many nights in various lounges waiting for deliveries. RIP my friend. You have earned your rest. Numbers 6:24-26.

  5. Dr. Finke became my gynecologist after Dr. Growdon died. He was recommended to me by a friend. I appreciated his humor and his soft manner. He always asked about my family & seemed interested. My favorite memory is the York Mint he always gave me as he left the room!

  6. Q: What will you never forget about Dr. Frederick (Rick)? A: I was an OB-GYN nurse for a friend of his for 25 yrs. Every time I saw him he had a terrible joke to tell me. He even eventually started sending faxes! He will be so, so missed! Melissa Langley

  7. I worked as a nurse and met you a few times. I enjoyed knowing you from the moment we met. You always made me smile. You were very highly regarded there aren’t many doctors like you. May you soar with the angels in heaven. Thank you for your service also.

  8. Rick was one of the nicest and gentlest people I’ve met. I was tickled to see the message from family about his puns. It felt like every week he’d come up to me at our Rotary meeting to share a new one. It was invariably so terrible that I had to laugh! I will miss him.

  9. Remembering Rick fondly as a Rotarian and kind man. His dedication to service to all was his daily gift to all of us. Peace to family members as you think of Rick in the days to come.

  10. I knew Rick through the Rotary Club of Brentwood. Rick’s jokes and puns were “eye roll worthy,” as stated in the lovely obituary, but they were his trademark. He will never be forgotten. Prayers for the family!

  11. Q: What will you miss most about Dr. Frederick (Rick)? A: I will greatly miss my friend who always greeted me with a smile and a witty joke. I loved my Rotary lunches with Rick as he was always curious to learn from others and share a smile. Our club was lucky to have had him as a member as we all were recipients of his kindness and humor.

  12. I am so sorry for your loss. I knew Dr. “Rick” through Rotary. He certainly had a way with words … funny but always kind ! Prayers to the family.

  13. Janet, I am so sorry to learn of Rick’s passing. I remember you both with fondness. We met a little more than 20 years ago as our mutual friend, LeeAnn Glisson, was on her journey with glioblastoma. My sincere sympathy to you and family.

  14. There is so much that should be said at this very difficult time, but seems there’s very little anyone can can or do to ease the loss of one who meant so very much to you. Dr. Rick was always such a delight to be around and spend time with. He will truly be missed. You are in our prayers.

  15. I knew Rick through the Rotary Club of Brentwood! I sat with him several weeks ago and was excited to tell him a joke! When I was done with my version of the joke, Rick said “ Do you want to know the rest of that joke?” My condolences to the entire family! I enjoyed getting to know Rick.

  16. Q: What will you never forget about Dr. Frederick (Rick)? A: I worked at Baptist L&D from 1985-2012. I loved working with Dr. Finke! He was so kind to the patients and all the nurses! I never heard an unkind word. My favorite memory of him was at my first daughter’s baby shower! She delivered early, so my baby shower at work came after! Dr. Finke held her while I opened gifts! What a kind and gracious man! Thanks to the family for sharing him. Heaven gained a great man. See you again someday!

  17. I had privilege of working as his Medical Assistant for 3 years just before he retired. He had known some of his patients since he began practicing. To witness the trust and friendship he shared with generations beginning with Mothers, daughters, their daughters and grandchildren of the1st generation was something I will never forget. He hung a picture in his office that the above mentioned ladies had made as a group for him. He was so proud of it. He was so patient and kind to me when I first came to work with him. My first OB/Gyn clinic with so much to learn. He would tell “there are no mistakes, just opportunities to learn”. Dr. Finke was like a grandfather to me (I never knew my own), I respected him, loved his friendship, admired his kindness…. And smiled each time I found a peppermint Patty on my desk that he placed there. While I was away. He was a gentleman and lived by his word, Live, Love and Laugh as much as you can. Be kind to each other…. I have missed him since my last day working with him, I will continue to miss and love him. The only good thing about his passing is that he is sitting with Jesus…. (He better choose his jokes carefully). Goodbye my friend, you deserve the peacefulness of heaven. Lori (Wold) Morris

  18. Dr. Finke delivered my daughter safely into the world in 1989. He was a kind man and a skilled physician. Rest in Peace doc you will be missed.

  19. I will always remember Rick with a smile and a joke. Rest in peace, my friend. Rotary won’t be the same without you!

  20. Q: How did you meet Dr. Frederick (Rick)? A: Dr.Finke delivered my two children, I also workat Baptist/St. Thomas as a nurse in the NICU, he would come by to brighten our day. He was inspiring!

  21. I will never forget that kind smile, friendly handshake, and jokes ( which I will repeat to my daughters on Friday evenings). Rotary won’t be the same without you, Dr. Finke. You will be terribly missed.

  22. Rick was the first person I meet when I started my practice in 1986. I met him in the doctors dressing room at Baptist. Little did I know that would be the start of a great and long friendship. I thought a great deal of Rick. Kind , smart and the teller of some bad jokes. I loved him and he will be missed! Houston Moran MD

  23. I will greatly miss my friend who always greeted me with a smile and a witty joke. I loved my Rotary lunches with Rick as he was always curious to learn from others and share a smile. Our club was lucky to have had him as a member as we all were recipients of his kindness and humor.

  24. Dr Finke was my first, and only OB/GYN since moving to Nashville in 1982. Thirty five years, and two children later I realized how lucky I was to be pointed in his direction all those years ago. His calm and caring qualities were ever present at births and yearly exams. The jokes always delivered in his dead pan style were the icing on the cake. We shared a good laugh, and I always left with a peppermint treat, and feeling better after the visit. He was one of a kind, and we were all so fortunate to have known him over the years. Don and I are so very sorry for your loss. I only hope that knowing how many others grieve with you, it will help in some way. With our deepest sympathy, Jill and Don Crumbo

  25. I met Dr. Finke when I was 19 years old. I began working in the OB Recovery Room at Baptist Hospital in 1978 as a tech while I was in nursing school. He was one of the most kind, caring, patient and friendly people I have ever known. We quickly became friends. Over that first year, I occasionally babysat his and Janet’s two boys. Eight months after I graduated, he asked if I would be his office nurse. I was elated and very honored. I worked in his office for 3 1/2 years, then returned to the OB recovery room. I was so grateful to be able to work with him there until he retired. His kind and friendly ways…and, yes, his jokes…always made me smile! He was truly the embodiment of a physician – putting his patients first and giving nothing less than his best to take care of them. He was always willing to help the patients and the staff. I would not be the nurse I am today if not for all he taught me over all these years. Most of all, he was my very dear friend! He rejoiced with me during the most important times of my life…he was there when I got married and delivered all of my children. He was also there during some of the worst times of my life to support me, encourage me and sometimes give me shoulder to cry on…because that’s who he was. I miss you deeply, my dear friend! I have been so greatly blessed to have had you in my life! You have lived well, loved well and laughed well. Now you can rest well. Vicki Anderson

  26. Dr. Finke was my OB/GYN during my child bearing years. He delivered both of my children. I found him to be a very kind, lighthearted, humble, and caring doctor. Yes, I endured a joke or two. I fondly remember when after delivering my second child, who came exactly on the day Dr. Finke had predicted, (on Thanksgiving Day) Dr. Finke promptly announced that I had a “little turkey”. I appreciate the man that he was. May your fond memories of him sustain you through this time and beyond. God Bless!

  27. I am truly saddened to hear of Dr. Finke’s passing. He was a wonderful doctor. He delivered my second son in 2010. I moved to his practice after a very challenging delivery in 2005. He knew how frightened I was to deliver again. During my entire c-section, he made silly puns about trees. Dr. Finke, his surgical team, and my husband were all laughing the whole time. I finally told them all to focus on my baby and me. He laughed and told me that we were fine. We were. I am blessed to have known him. My prayers are with his family.

  28. I will always remember him as the one who delivered me and when it came time for me to have my own I knew exactly who I would have do it. He delivered 3 healthy girls into our family. This man was such a gentle and compassionate man that had the Glory of God by his side through his whole life. You knew he loved the Lord just by the fruits of the spirit he showed. God bless him. He will be truly missed.

  29. He birthed all the babies in my family and meant so much to all of us. So sad to hear this. Nancy Ervin

  30. Dr. Finke delivered 9 of our 11 children before retiring. His jokes. His smile. His kindness. His love of numbers. He wasn’t like the rest. What an honor it was to know him. After he retired, my husband and I would keep in touch with him occasionally – mostly to update him on our growing family and grand babies. We spoke with to him a couple of weeks ago as we shared the news of the birth of our 11th child. I went back to read through our last few texts, after hearing of his passing, only to realize that the very last message he sent was a joke. What a sweet memory we will have with us always. We are praying for the family as you grieve the loss of such a great man. Thank you for sharing him with others for so many years. What a legacy he left. •picture taken right before his retirement

  31. I have know Rick only a short time, but I enjoyed our conversations at our Rotary Club in Brentwood immensely. May he rest in peace and may God bless his family and friends. Lynn McGill

  32. As a 30 year NICU nurse at Baptist/Midtown Dr Finke always brightened our day when he strolled in for a visit to give us his latest joke or bring us a box of candy! We all loved him dearly and I only ever heard kind words describing him. He was a kind and gentle man who glorified God in his life and he will be terribly missed! I look forward to seeing him again ❤️✝️

  33. Dr. Finke had a great compassion for both the children he treated and their parents. He had a special gift of comforting young parents-a gift appreciated and remembered. We were so blessed to have him in our lives and the lives of our 3 sons.

  34. Dr. Finke will always hold a special place in the hearts of our family. He delivered myself, and 8 of my brothers and sisters behind me. We will never forget his wit and jokes, and most importantly the smiles and laughs he created because of it. He was kindhearted and so very genuine. He will be missed!

  35. I was one of Dr. Finke’s first patients in Nashville when I learned I was pregnant in 1977. The GYN who gave me the pregnancy test no longer delivered babies, and he suggested I go to a “new doctor who would have time for me.” That was one of the best decisions of my life. Dr. Finke delivered my daughter, Laura, in 1978, and I remained a grateful GYN patient until he retired in 2017. I have not found a GYN yet that I like as well as I liked Dr. Finke. I have often said that he had the best bed side manner in the world. He always made me feel like it was a pleasure to see me, often saying “Well, we get to see Barbara again.” He always had a little gift for his patients, which would either be a birth control or hormone sample, or more often, a peppermint patty. I was heartbroken when I got the letter than he had retired, but seeing that he has died relatively young , I am glad he did retire when he did. I truly hope he got to enjoy those years. I have missed his caring spirit so much. RIP Dr. Finke. Job well done!

  36. Dr. Finke will always be one of my greatest heroes. He guided me through two very hard pregnancies, never failing to offer me complete support, encouragement, puns, and peppermint patties. Our sons are now 31 and 28, and we are eternally grateful to Dr. Finke for these blessings. We are saddened by his death, but know that there is a special place in heaven for a man who brought so much joy and love to so many.

  37. Rick was a good friend and one of the best physicians I had the opportunity to practice with. We will miss him sorely. Newt Lovvorn

  38. Dr Finke was the epitome of what an OB/GYN should be. After delivering our 12 week premature twins he visited me and our boys every day in the NICU. After the birth of our third and final child I told him that it was almost worth getting pregnant again so we could spend more time together. Our kids affectionately called him “Stinky Finkey” when they accompanied me to my appointments. He was a special man and we will be forever grateful for memories, the compassion ands his silly jokes. Love The Dambachs

  39. Rick, with his beautiful sidekick Butter, lifted my mother’s spirits with their weekly visits to NHC Place at The Trace. She couldn’t wait to seem them both so she could get some “good sugar” from Butter and laughter from Rick. He and Mom regularly tried to “out joke” each other with their corny jokes. Rick usually won. He and Butter even attended Mom’s visitation last fall, which meant so much to me and my family. Such a kind and compassionate soul. May his memory be a blessing.

  40. I worked with Dr. Finke as an anesthesiologist in OB. He was always a joy to be around. Smart, capable, calm and of course, funny. I’m sorry for his passing. Too young.

  41. When I worked in Labor and Delivery, he was always so kind and you could truly tell he loved his job. I remember one delivery a patient had a rubber chicken which was part of an ongoing family joke. Of course, anyone that knew him he was all about helping pull off a joke . When the “baby” was being born, right before he pulled up the chicken as if it were the baby. True Dr. Finke style. I also remember his kindness when I lost a baby, he came by my house and dropped off a book. He was truly one of a kind and will be missed.

  42. I am so sorry for your loss. Dr Finkie was such an amazing Doctor! He was my Doctor as well as a friend. I was a pediatric nurse working for Dr. David Thombs when I met Dr Finkie . After my retirement I became a volunteer for Baptist Hospital in the bnew baby wing . As each day started I looked forward to hearing Dr. Finkie’s jokes! He always kept me laughing and smiling. On another note, he was also our daughter’s Doctor and his acting quickly, saved her life! She had a rare cancer that started in her uterus and almost killed her if not for the quick thinking of Dr. Finkie. His devotion to his patients and his family will always be an example to me as a true Christian man. 🙏🙏☺️

  43. Fortunately Rick left me three pages of his puns and jokes. I have his memory with me! I loved Rick and his corny, punny, silly self and treasured his visits with Jake and Butter. I plan to honor him by planting a tree. My wish is that this honors you as well!

  44. Dr. Finke delivered my youngest son in 1977. He was beyond a doubt the best doctor that I ever had. So kind and thoughtful. He will be missed.

  45. Dr Finke was recommended to me by a friend. What a blessing and a privilege to have had Dr Finke deliver all three of our children! He will always be remembered as a wonderful Christian man and doctor with a calm yet witty personality. May God continue to strengthen and comfort his family. .

  46. I had a dream about Dr. Finke last night. I ran into him at a restaurant. Because of that, I Googled him today, and saw that he has passed away. I send my sincere condolences to you, his family. I worked with Dr.Finke from 1985-2001. I was a nursery nurse at Baptist Hospital. He was also my Doctor, and he delivered my son on July 4 1986 at about 11:00pm. He was the best OB/GYN! So many of the nurses on the 3rd floor had him as their doctor!! He was so kind and funny. I remember one day when I was leaving work-we worked in scrubs- he saw me leaving in my street clothes, and said “Hi! I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on!” Everyone standing there died laughing! I set up so many babies for circumcision, and went back on so many of his deliveries to take care of the babies.He will be missed by so very many, but he brightened up the day for so many!! Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts and memories. Carlin Curtis (my name was Carlin Field then).

  47. Dr. Finke, my heart is saddened to learn of your passing. You were the kindest person I have ever known. The love and kindness you showed everyone is something I will never forget. You brought my 3 boys into this world and I could never thank you enough! I always loved your jokes and your peppermint pattys you would always give out. Rest easy sweet Dr. Friend of mine…. Tracy Fitzgerald

  48. Just found out today! The world lost the best, most compassionate Dr. I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Not only did my mom, sister and myself work for Dr. Finke, he also delivered my only child and all of my mom’s grandchildren. Always had a joke and a peppermint patty for everyone he met. The streets of Heaven are sweeter with peppermint Pattie’s and jokes.

  49. I have just learned of the passing of Dr. Finke and my heart is heavy. Dr Finke was a wonderful and compassionate physician. He cared about all the nurses and he always had a joke to tell. Not only did I have the opportunity to work with Dr Finke at the hospital

  50. Dr Finke (by the way, never knew he went by “Rick” instead of “Fred”) was my OB/GYN from not long after I came to Nashville as a young bride. He came highly recommended by a sister in law who was a nurse. Dr Finke delivered all 3 of my sons.
    At some point my husband’s insurance changed at his work, and Dr Finke was not in the new insurance network. Time passed and I never bothered getting a new ob/gyn.
    I didn’t want a different doc inspecting my lady bits. I guess one of these days it may have to happen. Ugh lol
    Anyway, Rest in Peace, Doc. You were amazing.
    Sincere sympathy and condolences to the family.

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