Patricia Murphy Fernandez Johnson passed away on February 7, 2014 after a brave battle against Multiple Myeloma. Patricia was a native of Battle Creek, Michigan and long-time resident of New Orleans. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Rolando Fernandez, and is the beloved mother of three children: Alexander Fernandez Johnson (wife, Kathryn Stroupe) of Los Angeles, CA; Kore Alexis (partner, Dr. Maureen A. Riddle) of Truro, MA and New Orleans; Claire Louise Johnson (partner, Dhari Gray) of Santa Fe, New Mexico; and of one grandchild: Max Johnson of Los Angeles, CA. Pat graduated from the University of Michigan in 1958 and promptly flew to Ibiza, Spain where she worked, traveled, and mastered the Spanish language. In the 1960s, she worked in Miami, Florida as an interpreter for the Cuban Refugee Program, where she met her first husband, Rolando Fernandez. After living in Latin America for years, Pat returned to the United States and chose New Orleans as her new home because she had "the best meal of my life" in the city. Pat earned her Masters of Social Work at Tulane University and worked in private practice, for the New Orleans School Board, and later at Chartres Mental Health. During a trip to Jamaica in the 1980s, Pat fell in love with a house perched over the Caribbean Sea in a small community on the southwest shore named Bluefields. She relocated to Jamaica and had the happiest five years of her life swimming in the ocean, bird watching, reading voraciously on her veranda overlooking the sea, and romping through the bush with her beloved and giant dog, Molly. Pat traveled the world, usually alone, to places in the 1950s and 1960s that women rarely dared to go, she loved the theater, played a mean hand of bridge, cooked every cuisine in the world (and very, very well), taught her children how to do the tango while vacuuming the house, how to live well in a difficult world, and was the greatest traveling companion anyone could ever hope for. So, Pat, our favorite misanthrope, your friends and children raise a toast to you for so bravely battling this treacherous cancer with such panache (martini and cigarette always in hand!) and we know that you are now sitting on the veranda of your beloved Oristano House, Molly by your side, watching the birds glide over the beautiful blue-green ocean of Bluefields. We miss you already. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. To view and sign the Family Guestbook, please visit www.schoencanalstreet.com. Memorial private.
Published in TheNewOrleansAdvocate.com from Feb. 14 to Feb. 16, 2014