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Obituaries

PA Math Teacher, Volleyball Coach Dies After Battle With Brain Cancer, 28

The Northampton County community is mourning the death of local math teacher and volleyball coach Jessica Finlayson on Jan. 22 following a heartbreaking battle with brain cancer. She was 28.
The Northampton County community is mourning the death of local math teacher and volleyball coach Jessica Finlayson on Jan. 22 following a heartbreaking battle with brain cancer. She was 28. Photo Credit: Facebook/Jess Finlayson

The Northampton County community is mourning the death of local math teacher and volleyball coach Jessica Finlayson on Jan. 22 following a valiant battle with brain cancer. She was 28 years old.

Finlayson, of Whitehall, graduated from Emmaus High School and received a degree in mathematics from Lebanon Valley College, her obituary says.

Finlayson taught eighth grade math at Northampton Middle School and served as the head varsity coach of the girls’ high school volleyball team, her obit says.

She earned her master’s degree while continuing to teach, coach and undergo treatment for brain cancer, her memorial says.

In her free time, Finlayson loved participating in indoor and outdoor volleyball tournaments, skiing, country music and being a “dog mom” to her beloved pup, Lexi.

“Her smile and positive attitude for life was contagious,” her obituary says.

Finlayson is survived by her parents, Norman Finlayson and his wife Eileen; Jean Dalstad and her husband, Erik; siblings Erinne Finlayson, Kevin Finlayson, and Becca Dalstad; her boyfriend Tyler Smith, and numerous extended family members and close friends.

Finlayson’s memorial will be held Saturday, Jan. 30 at Bethany Church in Macungie.

Donations can be made to the “Jess Finlayson Memorial Scholarship Fund” (Northampton Area School District Administration Office, 2014 Laubach Avenue, Northampton, PA 18067). Donations can also be made in Finlayson’s name to the National Brain Tumor Society or the American Brain Tumor Association.

“Our hearts are heavy today with the passing of Girls Volleyball Coach Jess Finlayson,” reads a Jan. 23 post from the Northampton Athletics Twitter page. “Coach Finalyson's courage and spirit during her battle was beyond extraordinary and served as an inspiration to everyone she touched. Rest peacefully Coach.”

Click here for the full obituary.

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