Giovanni Finateri, 79, dies

Columbus, OH — Giovanni Finateri, 79, of Flint Township, Mich., died May 4, 2020.

He was born March 17, 1941, in Patrica, Italy, the son of Luigi and Violina (Salvati) Finateri. He resided in Flint Township for more than 50 years. He married Heather (Rathburn) Cundiff July 7, 2005 in Toledo, Ohio.

Mr. Finateri grew up in the interior of war torn Italy at the end of World War II, where as a child he and his family struggled to survive. He came to the United States in September 1958. He learned to speak English and became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

He overcame adversity, becoming a trainer, driver and owner of Standardbreds through the 1970s and 1980s. He also owned multiple pizzerias and became a successful business owner. He learned how to weld and became a valued crew member at a major automotive supplier.

Mr. Finateri loved animals. Throughout his life he kept many creatures, a hawk, a fox, and a raven.

In his retirement his focus became horses where he raced extensively in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Ontario. He was a member of the United States Trotting Association, the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association and other racing associations.

Surviving are his wife, Heather; daughters, Lisa (Rod) Dittrick and Michele (Steven) Schalow; step-daughter, Alaina Cundiff; grandchildren, Kayla (John) Kruszewski, London, Mica and Ariana; sister, Toni (Jim) Lott; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; sons, Milan and Giovanni Jr.; and brother, Lorenzo.

A private service will be held Monday (May 11). Entombment will be in the Mausoleum at Flint Memorial Park, Mt. Morris. Visitation will be held Sunday (May 10) between 2-4 p.m. at Sharp Funeral Homes, Miller Road Chapel, 8138 Miller Road, Swartz Creek.

Memorial contributions may be made to New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, 719, Dolan Lane, Lexington, KY 40511.

Tributes may be shared at To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Giovanni Finateri, please visit our floral store.

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