Funeral held for Utah woman killed in Nepal plane crash

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OREM — Family and friends celebrated the life of a Provo woman on Saturday who died with one of her best friends in a plane crash in Nepal on their way to Mount Everest.

Heather Johnson Finch, 40, was remembered as vibrant and adventurous. "She was non-judgmental, charismatic and full of wisdom," sister Brittany Dietrich said during funeral services in Orem.

Heather was an avid climber who wanted to summit the highest mountain in each state. She and her friend and co-worker, Leuzi Cardoso were among 14 people killed with the plane carrying them crashed in bad weather Aug. 24 while en route from Katmandu to the base of Mount Everest.

She was constantly involved with helping people throughout her life.

–Douglas Finch

"There are so many people who are going to miss her," said her husband, Douglas Finch. "It is just so hard for me to imagine how many lives that she touched in such a short period of time."

Heather was a paralegal and became chair of the Paralegal Division of the Utah State Bar just two months before her death. Her job was also an outlet for her charitable outreach, her husband said. "She did so many charitable works through the bar — was involved in so many different lives — it's unbelievable how many she touched with all the cases we have run and all of the things that we have done."

The Mount Everest trip was "the culmination of everything they had been working on for so long" but was "such a small facet of her life," Douglas Finch said. "Family was everything, and we did so much of that."

Utah Valley University has established the Heather Johnson Finch Memorial Endowed Scholarship to recognize her legacy, according to a release from Utah Valley University.

Officials in Nepal said shortly after the crash that the plane was headed to the area near Mount Everest when cloud cover forced the plane to return to the airport. The plane crashed into a remote area during a rainstorm. Diplomatic complications slowed the return of Heather's body.

Leuzi Cardozo's funeral was last week.


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