Vincent James Fernandes, 76, of Great Falls, died of natural causes Friday, Feb. 1, at a local hospital.
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Funeral liturgy is 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. Schnider Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
Vincent was born Nov. 12, 1936, in Honolulu, Hawaii and was raised in Hawaii and Sonora, Calif. and graduated from Sonora Union High School.
He married Margie Oliveira in Sonora and from this union they had three daughters who live in Hawaii. They were later divorced. He then married Judy Lemrick in Las Vegas and had a son; they were later divorced. He met Peggy Peck and after many years, were married in 2007.
Vince enlisted in the US Air Force in 1955, and worked in the security system. His assignments included duty at the White House under President Kennedy's administration. After President Kennedy was assassinated, he was on Air Force One as President Lyndon Johnson was sworn in. From there, he served in the Pentagon, Vietnam and at Travis AFB in California. Following his discharge, he spent several years in Las Vegas performing as a professional musician for many different celebrities. According to his oldest daughter, Mary Louise, he played percussion and drums for the Turtles. He appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, playing drums with the Jordonairs and toured extensively with Jerry Lee Lewis. He played drums for several other artists at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. In the late 1970s, Vince came to Great Falls, where he played at the Beacon, Westside Vets and the Elk's Club. He had many other gigs as well. He was a real estate appraiser and did appraisals all over Montana with Triangle Appraisal Service for the past 15 years.
He was an active member of the VFW, serving as chief of staff for the State of Montana under Eric Maki, traveling to Washington D.C. and Tennessee. He was also a member of the Order of the "Cooties" for the VFW and a member of the Elk's Lodge.
Vince is survived by his beloved wife, Peggy Ann Peck-Fernandes of Great Falls; daughters, Mary Louise Fernandes-Gentry and twin daughters, Patricia Fernandes and Teresa Riveira, all of Hawaii; stepdaughters, Lisa Peck of Havre, Christina (Scott) Dimke of Great Falls and Emily A. Vaughn of Havre; two stepdaughters he helped to raise from 2nd grade to adulthood, Natasha L. Peck of Havre and Trisha A. Peck of Great Falls; a son, Patrick Vincent Fernandes of Bozeman; brother, Melton Fernandes of Sonora, Calif.; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents, James Joseph and Elizabeth Kanoena Akina; brothers, Walter Fernandes and Richard Fernandes; sisters, Patricia Grant, Lynette Conger and younger sister, Mouna Fernandes.
Condolences for the family may be posted online at www.schniderfuneralhome.com.
Published in Great Falls Tribune on February 6, 2013