Hal B. Fernandez
Nov 24, 1948 – Jan 2, 2016
Hal B. Fernandez
Anytime a political, personal or social issue needed more analysis, Hal wanted to discuss it with God's auditor. He has been given his chance, and knowing the loquacious disposition of this man, the long awaited conversation will go on awhile.
Hal B. Fernandez, the son of William and Jean (Goehrs) Fernandez was born at Bremerton Naval Hospital on November 24, 1948. His father's Navy career transported Hal to 17 different schools including classrooms on Midway Island, Guam and remote Adak, Alaska. He graduated from West High in Bremerton at the age of 16 while taking classes at Olympic Junior College, then signed up for Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) while enrolled at the University of Washington where he earned a B.A. degree in Political Science and Russian language. Throughout his life he read constantly, the morning paper and coffee to start the day, then anything in print. After graduation from UW in 1969, he became a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force and was assigned to weapons security in Little Rock, Arkansas after flunking out of rocket school (much to his relief). During this time, Lieutenant Fernandez began experiencing a number of unrelated physical symptoms that disrupted his military dream, leading to an honorable discharge when doctors determined the problems "were all in his head". While considering a career in advertising, the opportunity to become a domestic steward for United Airlines opened in 1973 and what better way to travel and meet people, especially pretty girls! Six months after his flying career began in San Francisco, the symptoms reappeared and MS was finally diagnosed through a pneumoencephalogram test which has blessedly been replaced with MRI imaging. The dull-normal health patterns became something he tolerated without complaint. He was fond of saying, "if you like surprises, you will love MS". Hal returned to the friendly skies where he rallied with his smile and tenacity for almost thirty years until he could no longer balance or walk without a cane. Prior to that retirement in 2002, while on a stopover at the Kansas City airport in 1980 Hal met his future wife, United flight attendant Kathryn and was happy to learn she was also based in Seattle and had a three year old daughter who won his heart when she asked if he knew his ABC’s. After the couple married in 1984, Hal adopted the little girl whose energetic personality matched his own. Despite a maximum hour flight schedule and an active family life, Hal found time to volunteer at Ryther Child Center in Seattle, the Veterans Hospital Puget Sound and while living in Oregon, the Lincoln County Cultural Center.
Disappointed but determined to tackle more life, Hal retired from inflight service with fond memories of the fun he had onboard, playing games and making sure everyone had a good time. He spoke highly of his fellow 'stews', and looked forward to their reunions each year. Hal loved music and dancing, and had an impeccable memory, naming any tune including release date and artist, and quite possibly who he had a crush on at the time! His passion for good food in generous portions, writing poetry, walking on Oregon beaches, attending theater performances and keeping up with current events continued to enrich his soul when he and Kathryn moved to Neskowin, Oregon in 2003. He folded origami habitually, and the growing supply of birds led way to an origami studio he named Birds and Be in nearby Lincoln City. He was a published writer, and was thinking about sorting through hundreds of pages written with numb fingers when the auditor called January 2, 2016. His tired body could not keep up with that mighty spirit.
His comedic talent, quick wit, calming presence, and abundant charm will be forever missed by his loved ones and friends. Hal is survived by his mother Jean Fernandez, loving wife Kathryn, daughter Morgan Stuller and son-in-law Travis Stuller, grandchildren Lucille and Archie Stuller, sister Jan Fernandez, and brother Russell Fernandez and family in fur coats, Eddie Haskell and Olive Rose. The family would like to thank the staff at Wesley Homes Assisted Living and the team at Stafford Health Care for their support and encouragement, and Dr. Thomas Wear, PhD.
In Hal’s memory, gifts may be sent to Ryther Child Center in Seattle or North End Senior Solutions, Lincoln City, Oregon.
"I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me" -- A Course in Miracles
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