Hal B. Fernandez

Nov 24, 1948 – Jan 2, 2016

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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



Kristine E Hanberg
Tacoma, Wa
Jan 21, 2016

There are no words to express my deepest sympathy to you Kathy and the family.

It was great to have seen Hal at the Museam of Flight luncheon. Thank you for getting him there for us to enjoy his wit.

In our church our loved ones are never really gone as long as we have those "Everlasting Memories" which every flight attendant in Seattle will have from knowing Hal.

God bless you and the family.

Jan M. Loomis
Tacoma, WA
Jan 19, 2016

What a wonderful tribute to Hal's life. A beautiful story about his journey. Hal was a great person to work with. I enjoyed his company very much and he seemed to enjoy people and the laughter of others. The love and joy he expressed for you, Kathryn and Morgan was so sweet.

May you be singing and dancing with the angels in heaven, my dear Hal. May God Bless you spirit.

Christine Sydneysmith Satterlee
Quilcene , WA
Jan 18, 2016

Loving tenacity. That was Hal to me. He just kept on trucking thereby giving many of us the chance to re-evaluate our personal issues He was a gift. His spirit is free to watch over Kathryn, Morgan and family. Bless him.

Sherry Berett
Kenmore, Wa
Jan 13, 2016

I flew with Hal many, many times. He never stopped entertaining his flying partners or, especially, his passengers. They loved him. He truly was special.

Terry Baird
Peoria, AZ
Jan 12, 2016

Hal - you will definitely be missed by all your fellow Flight Attendants ! You were an inspiration to everyone you flew with ! Condolences to your family as they go through this difficult time ! You are definitely now in "THE FRIENDLY SKIES !"

Roger Schwarz
Bellevue, WA
Jan 11, 2016

Hal was a fun guy and had a love of music and music trivia. One month we flew together, and we had a competition to find more and more bands who had done a cover of the song "Louie, Louie". By the end of the month we'd come up with versions from the Kinks, Cream, Pat Boone, etc. About fifty or so, mostly from Hal. He had a little portable cassette player, and in the middle of a beverage service, out of the blue, another version would blare over the P.A. system. (pre-video days)

People loved it. He'll be missed.

Joann Coulter (Otterlei
Freeland , WA
Jan 11, 2016

Hal will be missed. Hal was always a joy to work with. He always asked about my brother Kurt who went to West Bremerton High with Hal. Bless you.

Diane Tucker
Normandy Park, Wa
Jan 11, 2016

Hal's United Family will miss his wit and his intelligent outlook on life. He inspired all of us by his unwavering stamina in spite of the MS.

He shared a love of life with all of us and he especially enlightened me by being a unique and caring person.

I feel blessed to have known him.

Kathy and Morgan, he loved both you dearly and never hesitated to tell all of us.

Diane Tucker

Rochelle Cottrell
Issaquah, WA
Jan 9, 2016

Hal was such a gentle, calm, generous of spirit man. Hal and I were " flying partners" at United... Rest in Peace Hal. God has called another angel home.

Shaung Liu
Mesa, Az
Jan 9, 2016

Beautifully written. I enjoyed learning a few new things about Hal and the walk down memory lane while reading. My warmest regards to Kathryn and Morgan.

Love Shaung

Kathleen Hackett
Pleasant Hill, Ca
Jan 9, 2016

A beautiful eulogy for a cousin I loved and have fond childhood memories of. He will forever live in our love.

Mary Stanley Reichman
Trabuco Canyon, Ca
Jan 8, 2016

I think of Hal and a smile comes to my face. I loved to sing tunes from the 60's and we'd play "name that tune". He would never disappoint with the year, artist and label!

He was so witty and fun and remembered fondly.

My deepest sympathy Kathryn to you and your family.

Love, Mary Stanley Reichman

Judy puckett
Seattle, Wa
Jan 8, 2016

Death comes at its own pace; in its own time. Not when we are necessarily ready for it. Most of us live a life of fullness to some level. There are others, like Hal, who push the envelop and grasp its fullness and knowledge every day. How special to be that hungry for life...he realized just how short our time is here. He has traded his earthly wings (as a flight attendant) for those of another demention. Hal, you have definitely earned your wings. You will always be sitting on the jumpseat of life with us. We know you will be looking down on us and smiling, because you always "made us smile!"

Thank you, Kathryn, for sharing him with us.

Karen Del Grosso
Federal Way, WA
Jan 8, 2016

As I think of the many years Danny and I knew Hal, I am continually reminded of his profound sense of love and caring. Not only was Hal interesting and fun, but his passion for life drew us into his loving circle. I am going to miss Hal very much.

Death Is Nothing at All, by Henry Scott Holland

Death is nothing at all.

I have only slipped away to the next room.

I am I and you are you.

Whatever we were to each other,

That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.

Speak to me in the easy way

which you always used.

Put no difference into your tone.

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed

at the little jokes we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household word

that it always was.

Let it be spoken without effect.

Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.

It is the same that it ever was.

There is absolute unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind

because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.

For an interval.

Somewhere. Very near.

Just around the corner.

All is well.

Judy Wilson
Beaverton, OR
Jan 8, 2016

Beautiful obituary in Hal's honor. I didn't know him as well as most, but I have learned of his beautiful strength and qualities from Kathryn and Morgan. His determination and wit during the duress of illness was something to be emulated by all. My sincerest condolences and love to all of his family at this most sad and difficult time.

My best, Judy W.

Steve Collins
Everett, WA
Jan 8, 2016

His tenacious wit, determined pride, and tough-to-match character will always be remembered. He left his mark and his treasures on his family and friends, as well as most others whose paths he crossed. What a pleasure is was to have known Hal Fernandez... he will be missed.

Andrea Haug
Tacoma, Wa
Jan 8, 2016

Hal B! What an interesting and amazing man. Even though it has been many years since I have seen him he has always had a special place in my heart(Morgan and Kathryn included). Although he is gone in his physical form I know he will always be there to watch over his family and his adorable grand babies! Rest in peace Hal!

Carolyn George
Warren, Mi
Jan 8, 2016

Reading Hal's obit reminds me of why he married Kathryn. In so many ways, they were 2 peas in a pod. Most of their life together was magical and when times got rough, she carried him. Theirs was a remarkable marriage.

Hal was a unique man who led a unique life and now is on his greatest journey home.

Until we meet again,

your friend Carolyn

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