Virginia Fernandez, 94, died in the early morning hours Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, at her home in Pinetop, from complications incident to her age. She was born Tuesday, May 12, 1925, in Flagstaff, to the late Juan and Mercedes (Benitez) Gonzales.
Though born in Flagstaff, Virginia was reared in McNary. She attended school in McNary and graduated from McNary High School in the early '40s. She married her husband, Ralph Fernandez, Nov. 1, 1946, in McNary. In 2008, after 61 years of marriage, Ralph passed away. Feeling numb at his passing, she said that she "felt as if her right arm was cut off." She missed him a great deal and received much strength from the love of her family during that difficult season.
Throughout her long life, Virginia worked at several places in the Pinetop area. Hers was a friendly and familiar face at the McNary General Store for many years, where she worked as a cashier. She worked at Wilbur's in Pinetop and Earl's Family Shoes. She also worked at The Smoke Shop in Hon-Dah, finally retiring at age 81. Wherever she worked, she was well-liked by everyone. Her smile will be a special memory to the many people she served during her long career. She was hard worker and taught her family well, by example, the importance of earning an honest living by "the sweat of one's own brow." She never was one to take things for granted and she always looked for the joy in life. She possessed a great sense of humor and always enjoyed a good laugh.
Her family meant everything to her. She loved teaching her children and grandchildren nuggets of wisdom that has served them well throughout their lives. She loved to play baseball with her grandchildren and they always wanted her on their team. She was "Queen" of Hon-Dah Casino and loved playing the slots there. She made many friends at the casino over the years. Her daughter, Rebecca, said that "you know someone by their actions and her actions always were louder than words." Her daughter, Christine, said of her mother that "She was a giver, a worker and a teacher." She will be missed a great deal by her family, yet, they all find peace and comfort as they think of the reunion she is celebrating with her dear Ralph. Virginia was a longtime member of St. Mary of The Angels Catholic Church in Pinetop. Her faith was strong and she had a deep and abiding love for her large church family.
Virginia is survived by her two daughters, Rebecca De La O of Pinetop and Christine McCarley (Jaci Matlock) of San Tan Valley; four grandchildren: Nataniel (Irene) De La O of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, Gregorio (Tamara) De La O of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, Cory McCarley of San Tan Valley, Jeffery (Cami) McCarley of Casa Grande and 11 great-grandchildren.
Her family warmly invites everyone to attend the graveside and committal service beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 5,at the Lakeside Cemetery, where she will be laid to rest alongside her forever sweetheart. Immediately following the graveside service, there will be an afternoon of refreshments, reflection and fellowship at Ramada 2 at Woodland Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Virginia's family is thankful for all of the expressions of sympathy they have received during this time and are especially grateful for all the prayers offered up on their behalf.
Owens Livingston Mortuary, White Mountain Chapel of Show Low handled arrangements. For those who have special memories and would like to sign an online guest book, or to send private condolences, visit www.owenslivingstonmortuary.com.