Charles O. Finley was born Feb. 22, 1918, in Ensley, Alabama, where his father worked in the steel mills near Birmingham. His father was transferred to the mills in Gary, Indiana, when Charlie was 15.

After graduating from Horace Mann High School in 1936, Charlie worked for $3.76 a day in the Gary steel mills for six years before becoming an insurance salesman in 1940. During World War II, he moved to La Porte County and worked at the Kingsbury Ordnance Plant.

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