Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
BIRTH 4 Nov 1937
DEATH 22 Apr 2010 (aged 72)
Barrancas National Cemetery
Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, USA
PLOT B-8 A 15
On Thursday, April 22, 2010, Pararescueman Joe Fernandez left this life as he lived this life with incredible strength, dignity and honor.
Born into a childhood that shattered, he saw to it that he became an amazing man. He dedicated himself to the service to others and experienced adventures in every corner of our world – first as a member of the 82nd Airborne and then as a Pararescueman, an elite brotherhood that was his passion and honor. In his “spare” time he earned college degrees and a variety of certifications; had grand adventures, and a lot of fun, on “Desperato”; did a lot of projects; created a beautiful home and lived an impressive life.
Upon military retirement, as a highly decorated chief master sergeant, he was a ROTC instructor; a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary; and conducted appraisals. Being a skilled craftsman, he also did home repairs; became a recognized mediator for the State of Florida; and so much more.
He valiantly fought and won many impossible battles, from serious injuries to cancers. Somehow, he kept his promise and held his ground until there was strength enough for us to let him go.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, and cherished family members and friends, some of whom helped him begin his journey home. He leaves behind his daughter, son-in-law, and Sam, who thank him for his courage and guidance in this most sorrowful time. He also leaves behind many members of a wonderful family who never saw him as an “in-law,” but simply a member of the family.
At his request and in his honor, the family respectfully asks that donations be made to your local animal rescue and shelter groups, in lieu of flowers.
His military ceremony will be conducted at Hurlburt Field Chapel and grounds on April 30 at 3 p.m. with a Hightide get together to follow.
His remembrance gathering is scheduled for May 8 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Siam Gardens in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
Emerald Coast Funeral Home, 113 Racetrack Road N.E., Fort Walton Beach, is with the arrangements. Expressions of sympathy may be viewed and submitted online at www.emeraldcoastfuneralhome.com .
Published in Northwest Florida Daily News on April 28, 2010