Obituary: Frances Virginia Fernandez
August 31, 1936 – November 27, 2021
Frances Virginia Fernandez passed away peacefully Saturday, November 27, 2021, in Glenwood Springs, Colorado at the age of 85. She was born at home in Bells Camp, Colorado (between Gilman and Red Cliff) on August 31, 1936, to Maclovio and Gertrude Medina. Frances spent some time in New Mexico as a young girl, and some of her fondest memories was her time spent tending to her family’s sheep. She loved the solitude. Frances along with eight other classmates graduated from the Red Cliff Union High School on May 31, 1956. Her love of music and singing was evident from back in high school when she willed her signing abilities to the then Sophomore, Percilla Vigil.
Frances married her late husband of over 63 years, Santiago “Jimmy” Fernandez, on April 21, 1957. They raised three daughters, Elaine, Joann, and Karen, and their grandson, Adrian in Red Cliff, Colorado where Frances and Jimmy lived until 2017. Frances was mostly a stay-at-home mom, but worked a few years as a cook for the Deli on Bridge Street and as a housekeeper for Brandess-Cadmus in Vail, Colorado alongside her husband in the ‘90s. Her daughter, JoAnn, remembers coming home from school as a young child to the smell of fresh tortillas or sopapillas her mom had just made.
Prior to Jimmy’s passing in January, Frances and Jimmy were inseparable and were often seen at Wal-Mart, McDonald’s or Wendy’s. (Her favorite: fries and diet Coke.) Frances enjoyed crocheting, dancing, and singing. She would crochet baby sweaters, hats, booties and blankets for many of her friends and family. She also enjoyed watching the Bronco games on Sundays and watching her novellas (Spanish soap operas).
Her daughter, Karen, remembers her mom and dad attending the numerous dances held at the Red Cliff School gym back in the ‘80s, and would often be the first couple out on the dance floor. A few months ago, at her daughter Elaine’s house, Frances just started dancing while listening to the oldies. Frances was always singing. Most recently while living at the Renew Roaring Fork assisted living facility, Frances sang “God Bless America” on Veteran’s Day alongside the visiting veterans. She would often sing during Happy Hour or in the dining room which brought much joy to the other residents. The week prior to her passing, Frances was singing “Oh, My Darling Clementine” while her daughter, Joann, had lunch with her in the facility’s dining room. She was also singing at her daughter Elaine’s house on Thanksgiving, two days prior to her passing.
Frances certainly made an impression on the staff and the residents at Renew Roaring Fork. According to one of Renew’s directors, he considered Frances his friend. He referred to her as sweet, kind, gentle, and polite – everyone loved her. Other staff members and residents said they were certainly going to miss her.
Frances was very proud of her family. She had many pictures of them in her house and would show them to visitors. When her daughters would visit her in the assisted living facility, she would take them around to meet the staff and the residents.
Frances was preceded in death by her husband, Jimmy Fernandez; her granddaughter, Alicia Rivera; her mother and father, Gertrude and Maclovio Medina; brothers Jimmy and Max Medina; and sister, Oralia Vigil.
She is survived by her daughters, Elaine Fernandez; JoAnn (Guillermo) Munoz; Karen (Orlando) Martinez; son, Adrian Medina; grandchildren, Joseph Mascarenas; Jimmy (Cassandra) Mascarenas; Renee (Abdulrahman) Kaldari; O.J. (Elle) Martinez; Angelina (Daisy) Manzanares; 18 great grandchildren; four great-great grandsons; sister, Jane Martinez; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A memorial service for both Frances and Jimmy will be scheduled in June 2022 in Minturn, Colorado.