UNC-W Professor Emeritus Hildelisa Caridad Hernández died Aug. 8, 2012 in Long Beach, Calif., where she lived for the last three years. She died gracefully and peacefully, surrounded by her children.
She lived a long, productive and distinguished life and will be remembered by all who had the opportunity to know her. She brought five children into the world and proudly raised them to care for others and to work hard to achieve their goals. During her 36 years at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, she taught, encouraged and cajoled numerous students to love physics as much as she did.
Dr. Hernández was born in Mariel, Cuba, on Dec. 22, 1925, the oldest child of Alfredo Ginory and Barbara Rodriguez Ginory. She attended the University of Havana and obtained a doctorate in Physical and Mathematical Sciences. She married Vicente Hernández in Cuba in 1949. They immigrated to the United States in 1961 with their five children, eventually settling in Wilmington, N.C., after having lived in Raleigh, N.C., for two years.
Dr. Hernández was a loving mother and grandmother: She is survived by her children, Dalia Hernández of Long Beach, Calif., Dora Hernández of Phoenix, Ariz., Teresa Hernández, of Gowen, Mich., Vince Hernández of Wilmington, N.C. and Maria Hernández of Durham, N.C. Her five grandchildren include Vicente Hernández, Matthew Hernández, Analisa Rice-Hernández, Elena Rice-Hernández, and Olivia Luteman. Also surviving is her youngest brother Roberto Ginory of Miami, Fla.
Throughout her entire tenure as a professor both in the United States and Cuba, Hernández helped motivate her students. She left many with a great appreciation for learning. "Dr. H", as she was known by many of her students, was dedicated to the idea that every student could learn physics if they worked diligently and followed her enthusiastic, animated explanations. She tirelessly championed the cause of her students, promoting and encouraging them to strive beyond their limitations. To maintain her commitment to her students, she established a scholarship to be awarded to a student majoring in physics at UNCW.
Dr. Hernández was a devout Catholic and a member of St. Mark Catholic Church and spent much of her time after retirement working with Hispanic members of the Catholic community. She served as a catechist and a math and science tutor. She also volunteered working with UNCW students in various capacities at the Catholic Student Center.
Though small in stature, she was certainly a distinct and dynamic presence that occupied and commanded everyone's attention when she entered a room.
"We have many fond memories of her indomitable spirit, her passion for mentoring students and the warmth and openness of her interactions with faculty colleagues," said UNCW Professor James Sabella.
She will be deeply missed by those who knew and loved her.
The Reverend Tim Meares will celebrate The Funeral Mass on Thurs., Aug. 23, at 2:00 p.m. at Saint Mark Catholic Church, 1011 Eastwood Rd., Wilmington, N.C. 28403.
There will also be a Memorial Tribute, Sat., Aug. 25, at 10:00 a.m. at UNCW in The Burney Center, Ballroom A.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to one of the following:
The Dr. Hernandez Physics Award (please make checks payable to UNCW with "Dr. Hernandez Physics Award" noted in the memo line)-- UNCW, Advancement Services, 601 S. College Rd., Wilmington, N.C. 28403.
UNCW Catholic Student Center at 4802 College Acres Drive, Wilmington, NC 28402.
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