Obituary: Santiago “Jimmy” Fernandez
November 6, 1935 – January 8, 2021
Longtime Red Cliff resident, Santiago “Jimmy” Fernandez, passed away Friday, January 8, 2021, in Grand Junction, Colorado at the age of 85. He was born in Dixon, New Mexico and moved to Red Cliff, Colorado in 1956. He married the love of his life, Frances (Medina) Fernandez in April 1957. They raised three daughters and lived in Red Cliff for 61 years.
Jimmy worked for both the Gilman and Climax mines after which he worked for Brandess-Cadmus in Vail, Colorado from 1981 until he retired. He treasured his small collection of “Fools Gold” from the Gilman mine and a statue of a skier he received while working in Vail. Jimmy was well known by many of the merchants on Wall Street as a hardworking nice man who was always smiling.
He was selfless, compassionate, and a giving man with a huge heart. He enjoyed meeting and talking with people whether he met them at work, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, or Wendy’s. Many locals would see Jimmy outside of Wal-Mart in Avon with his dog Geo waiting for his wife Frances to finish her shopping. He could strike up a conversation with anyone. His daughter, Karen, recalls a time when she tried having her parents paged at the Wal-Mart in Frisco. The woman who answered the phone responded with, “I’m sorry, Jimmy and Frances were here, but they already left.”
Jimmy was an amazing father who was extremely proud of his children. He carried pictures of them in his wallet to share with the people he met. He cherished time spent with his daughter, JoAnn, and his eyes lit up whenever he saw his grandson, Adrian, whom he raised as his own son. In most recent years, Jimmy enjoyed helping around his daughter Elaine’s house, right along with his great grandson, Jeremiah, whom he enjoyed talking with.
Jimmy was full of life. He enjoyed watching western movies, listening to country vocalists such as Conway Twitty, Don Williams, and Johnny Cash in addition to Freddy Fender, Rod Stewart, Kim Carnes, and especially New Mexico Spanish music. In the old days, Jimmy and Frances would be one of the first couples out on the dance floor at the numerous dances held at the Red Cliff school gym.
He also appreciated classic cars and would often talk about his old yellow and black Ford Fairlane. His nephew, Michael Lopez, remembers his Uncle Jimmy as a kind and gentle man who couldn’t do enough to welcome him and his family when they would visit. Riding around Red Cliff at night in the winter months in Uncle Jimmy’s International Scout was one of his fondest memories. Uncle Jimmy always had a candy bar and a soft drink for his nephew. Jimmy certainly loved chocolate – especially Snickers.
Jimmy had a great sense of humor. He liked the song, “Don’t Worry Be Happy” and would often say that to cheer people up. “You can’t fool Mother Nature” was another of his favorite quotes. He was always cracking jokes, but took his lottery “scratch” tickets and Bronco games seriously.
He was a faithful and humble man who accepted all of life’s challenges without complaint. It’s no wonder why the Sacred Heart of Jesus was Jimmy’s favorite as it represents Jesus’ love for all humanity. Jimmy put everyone’s wants before his and was appreciative and grateful for everything.
Jimmy was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Alicia Rivera; his father, Margarito Fernandez; mother, Petrita (Mascarenas) Fernandez; brother, Harvey Fernandez; sisters, Minnie Martinez and Mary Serna.
He is survived by his wife, Frances Fernandez; 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; 17 great grandchildren; 2 great-great grandsons; brother, Delfino Fernandez; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date.