Charles Fernandez, 93 of Plover passed away at his home on Sunday, November 15, 2015.
A Memorial Service will be held 11:00 AM Saturday, November 21, 2015 at the Boston Funeral Home with Rev. Dave Ficken presiding. Visitation with precede the funeral from 9:00 AM until the time of service at the funeral home.
He was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico and moved to Chicago with his family when he was four and grew up there. He served in the Navy during WWII and then returned to Chicago where he met and married Yvonne Daufen (she died in 1996). They moved to Oshkosh and he worked as an automotive technician until being employed by Fox Valley Technical College where he taught automotive trades.
He also served as a director for Migrant Schools for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. He became a role model for many in the Hispanic community. He retired in 1986. Charles is survived by his beloved wife, Nancy (formerly “Bangstad”) whom he dearly loved for the past 18 years after the death of his loving wife, Yvonne of 53 years.
During his retirement, he enjoyed working primarily with at-risk and emotionally disturbed youth at the Alternative High School in Stevens Point, which was renamed after him and is now called “The Charles F. Fernandez Center for Alternative Learning.” In addition, he also mentored adolescents at SPASH and at the Juvenile Detention Center. He mentored other youth at the junior highs and the Wisconsin Challenge Academy. He is a past community member of the Stevens Point School Board. He was also a mentor for the Volunteers in Probation program of Justiceworks
He was always looking for new challenges and had developed several volunteer programs in the community, including one at the Gateway Return Program sponsored by the Boys and Girls Club.
In addition to his mentoring roles, he assisted the local courts, law enforcement and the hospitals as a Spanish interpreter.
In addition to many local awards, Charles received the VFW Teacher of the Year Award during his teaching career ,and in 2001, First Lady Laurie McCallum awarded him the Wisconsin Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award that was presented in Milwaukee at the Alliance for Wisconsin Youth Conference. The award was presented for “exceptional contributions to youth in Wisconsin.”
More recently, he received the MetLife Foundation Award, “Older Americans Enrich America” and was the highest honor winner in the mentoring category. This national award was presented in Washington, D.C. in April, 2003. In 2012, he was again named “Mentor of the Decade” in this award.
In 2010, he received the John Klismet Service award from Justiceworks, and also a Community Service Recognition award from the Stevens Point Area Public School District “in recognition of the significant and profound contributions to the District, for advancing the education of all its students. Mentoring was always his passion and he inspired others to do follow in his footsteps. He wasn’t very good at making enemies, so he only made friends. He strongly felt that education would help alleviate many of mankind’s ills.
In addition to his wife, Nancy, Charlie is survived by his 9 children: Charles Fernandez, Sturgeon Bay; Ron (Su) Fernandez, Winchester, TN; Lynn Donohoe, Milwaukee; Peter Fernandez, Oshkosh; Tina Crawford, Corona, CA; Gina Fernandez , Ph.D.(Craig Yencho, Ph.D) Raleigh, NC; Dan (Becky) Fernandez, Kansas City, MO; Lori Fernandez, Madison; Lia Fernandez, New York, NY; and three step children, Kim (Chaess) Anders, Shakopee, MN; Kirk Bangstad (Elizabeth Smith), Minocqua; and Kelly Wilz, Ph.D, Plover. He is also survived by his sister Margarite Stiffter, Chicago, and a brother, Richard Fernandez, Chicago, plus many grandchildren and great- grandchildren.
Where others saw the world as it is, he saw the world as it should be.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial will be established in his name. He would also have asked that each person tries to do something good for others for he always says that “so much good remains to be done”.