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Funeral for Woman Who Died Between Jobs / Nick Ehrhardt

Funeral for Woman Who Died Between Jobs

Maria Fernandes' death by carbon monoxide poisoning brought a tragic end to a young woman whose passion for life was an inspiration. The story of her death made national news; she died while sleeping in her car, resting between multiple part-time, minimum wage jobs. But as reported this week, that story fails to capture the beauty and joy of Fernandes' life.

At her funeral Sept. 5, Fernandes was mourned by more than 60 people – and on two continents thanks to a video stream of the ceremony so her family in Portugal could take part. Fernandes spent much of her childhood in Portugal with her parents, returning to America at age 18 to build her life in New Jersey. She was remembered by friends as generous, caring and strong. In her free time, she was a dedicated Michael Jackson fan, organizing annual trips with a group of fellow fans to a Jackson festival in California. Many of them attended her funeral.

Maria Fernandes' funeral (AP Photo)

She also was mourned by a friend, and an ex-boyfriend whom Fernandes helped with child care and in securing custody of his children. One of those children paid tribute to her at the end of the funeral, dressed in a new suit Fernandes had bought him.