- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Elias Rafael “Fred” Fernandez Jr., 72, of Panama City Beach, Fla., formerly of Lexington Park, died peacefully Jan. 2, 2013, after a long illness.
Born Oct. 9, 1940, in Santurce, Puerto Rico, he was the eldest child of Elias Rafael Sr. and Isabel (Hardouin) Fernandez. He spent his early years growing up in San Juan with his parents, two brothers and one sister.
After graduating from high school, he served four years in the U.S. Air Force. Upon his discharge in 1964, he entered the U.S. Navy and proudly and honorably served until his retirement as a senior chief in 1980. He was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal, Antarctic Service Medal and many others. After retirement he worked for a U.S. Department of Defense contractor in Lexington Park and then as a civil servant at Patuxent River Naval Air Station before moving to Panama City Beach. Many years in the Navy took him all over the world, but he was always drawn to the beach, particularly the Florida beaches, and the sunny climate. He also loved the theater, traveling and spending time with friends. He loved his family and enjoyed each day as it came.
He is survived by his children, Hallie Fernandez of Panama City Beach and Daniel Fernandez of Severn; grandsons, Logan Rosenwald and Ethan Fernandez; sister, Nilsa Stay of Baltimore; brother, Guillermo Fernandez of Puerto Rico; and his former wife, Letty Fernandez. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Miguel Fernandez.
A memorial service with military honors was held at Gulf Beach Baptist Church in Panama City Beach. Entombment will take place with family in Puerto Rico at a later date. Arrangements are being handled by Southerland Family Funeral Home in Panama City.