Abel Hernandez, 62, passed away in his Bakersfield home surrounded by his family on April 25, 2016. He was born in Bakersfield, California on August 23, 1953, the third of four children of the late Pedro and Petra Hernandez. He married Cecelia (Morin) Hernandez in 1975 and together they had four children.
Abel attended Jefferson Elementary, Washington Junior High, and was part of the East Bakersfield High, Class of 1971, where he played football, served as Student Body President, and was elected Bobby Blade at homecoming. He went on to graduate from Claremont Men's College and moved to Northridge. Soon after, he began his career in public service as a group counselor at Kern Youth Facility before completing his electrical apprenticeship program. He was a member of IBEW Local 428 and worked at various job sites including Edwards Air Force Base where he worked on the hangar for the Stealth Bomber. He went on to become an investigator for the Kern County Department of Human Services and Public Defender's Office and retired in 2015 after 25 years with the county.
Abel was active in the lives of his children as well as the church, coaching JBA baseball, traveling for club volleyball and soccer tournaments, and cheering on their Drillers. Abel and Cece opened their home to countless friends who they made feel like family, hosting class swim parties, homecoming floats, and birthday party shenanigans. They even have a Croatian "son" Roko, an international student who lived with them for a year. Abel served as Parent Club President of Quailwood Elementary School and was a member of the Kern High School Redistricting Committee and Fruitvale School District Board. He was a parishioner of St. Philip the Apostle and led youth confirmation classes.
In June 2006, Abel received a double-lung transplant and became an ambassador with OneLegacy/Donate Life dedicating his extra ten years to advocating for organ donation. His commitment to this work was recognized on the Donate Life float in the 2008 Rose Parade. Additionally, he and his family participated in several Bay to Breakers, an annual San Francisco race that celebrates the human spirit. Both events honored the life of his donor.
Abel enjoyed camping and fishing, soulful music and mariachis. He practiced Karate during his college years and was a ping-pong wizard. He loved his Labrador Retrievers and was a diehard Boston Celtics fan. Most importantly, he was a model of integrity, humility, generosity, faith and family values. He worked hard in all he did and achieved much, but was most proud of the family that he and Cecelia raised together. These past few years he found great joy in being Papa to his five grandchildren. A friend and inspiration to all those who knew him, Abel could never make a "quick run" to the grocery store because he would always run into someone to chat with. Abel will be sorely missed, but his infectious smile will never be forgotten.
He is survived by his wife, Cecelia Hernandez, children Kirstin Hernandez & Andre Ramos, Matthew & Corina Hernandez, Nicolyn Hernandez, Seth & Sarah Hernandez, and grandchildren Lilia & Luca Hernandez, Ezekiel, Zoe and Isaiah Ramos, siblings Tina & Robert Luna, Diane & Phillip Villanueva, Gilbert & Diana Hernandez, mother-in-law Mary Morin, aunts, uncle, as well as many cousins, nieces, nephews and godchildren.
Pallbearers will be godsons Dustin Gonzales, Michael Aguilar, Manny Martinez, and friends Richard Garcia, Dave Graham and Larry Smith.
The family would like to thank Dr. Mushtaq Ahmed for his long time care and friendship, Dr. Joseph Lynch III and the UCLA pulmonary transplant team and staff, as well as Dr. Alan Cartmell and the staff at CBCC for their guidance and support.
Visitation will be held from 4:00 - 8:00 PM on Monday, May 2, 2016 with rosary recited at 6:00 PM at St. Philip's. Funeral mass will be held on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 10:00 AM at St. Philip's followed by interment at Greenlawn Cemetery on River Boulevard. In lieu of flowers, charitable contributions in Abel's memory may be made to One Legacy Foundation at https://onelegacyfoundation.org/memorial-giving-for-abel-hernandez
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