Manuel Fernandez, 89, died Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, in hospice care at his home in Glen Carbon with his loving family by his side.
He was born May 21, 1924, in Cherryvale, Kan., the son of Joe Muniz Fernandez and Pilar Alvarez Fernandez, immigrants from Spain.
Mr. Fernandez was a World War II Navy combat veteran of the D-Day invasion. He was a gunner on a flak ship in the first wave of the Allied invasion of France at Omaha Beach. He served in the Navy from 1943 to 1946.
After the war, he worked as a machinist and a carpenter, retiring in 1989 from Switzer's Licorice, in St. Louis.
He lived much of his life in Fairmont City, where he served more than 30 years as a volunteer firefighter, retiring as a captain. He lived in a country home in Sorento for 22 years, moving to Glen Carbon about three years ago.
He was a member of the carpenters' union, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 313 in Caseyville, and the American Legion posts in Fairmont City and Sorento, Ill.
A physically active man, Mr. Fernandez enjoyed playing soccer and washers, fishing and gardening. In Sorento, he planted and tended 40 fruit trees. He also roofed his own home when he was 75 years old.
He is survived by his wife, Bonnie Stuber Fernandez, whom he married in Springfield, Ill., on Oct. 2, 1989.
Also surviving are five children: Donna (Jeff) Moody, of St. Jacob; Tina Fernandez, of Mililani, Hawaii; Joe (Karen) Fernandez of Mt. Olive, Ill.; Laura (Robert) Lutes, of Collinsville; and Vincent Fernandez, of Fairmont City.
In addition, he is survived by 10 grandchildren, five great-granddaughters, a great-grandson to be born in February, nieces, nephews and a sister, Anita Fernandez Earhart, of Glen Carbon.
He was preceded in death by his parents and three siblings; Mary Fernandez Budnicki, Joe Fernandez and Angie Fernandez Macios.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to Honor Flight of Franklin County, P.O. Box 60, Union, Mo. 63084, or Bluff View Baptist Church, 2052 North Bluff Road, Collinsville, Ill. 62234, or the Vitas Hospice, 8 Executive Drive, Suite 125B, Fairview Heights, Ill. 62208. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.herrfuneral.com.
Visitation: Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, at Herr Funeral Home, 501 West Main Street, Collinsville, Ill.
Funeral: Funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at the funeral home with the Rev. Roger Wright officiating. Burial will be in Sunset Hill Memorial Estates in Glen Carbon, Ill.
HERR FUNERAL HOME, Collinsville, Ill.
Published in Belleville News-Democrat on Nov. 21, 2013