TUSCALOOSA Dr. Gabriel Lucio Fernandez, age 75, a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and longtime resident of Tuscaloosa, died April 24, 2011, at home. Funeral Mass will be 3 p.m. today at Holy Spirit Catholic Church with Father Gerald Holloway and Father Jerry Deasy officiating and Tuscaloosa Memorial Chapel Funeral Home directing. Visitation will be one hour prior to services at the church.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Restituto and Dr. Dolores Fernandez of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Elizabeth “Libby” Smeraglia Fernandez; his brother, Dr. Restituto Fernandez Plâ. (Dede) of San Juan, Puerto Rico; his sons, Gabriel Mark Fernandez (Amy) of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Michael R Fernandez (Tracy) of Eagle, Colorado, and Dr. David Claude Fernandez (Angela) and Andrew Luis Fernandez (Amy), both of Tuscaloosa, Alabama; and his grandchildren, Davis, Gabbi, Libba, Gabe, and Turner Fernandez, all of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Gabe attended boarding school at St. Paul's Catholic High School in Covington, Louisiana, from which he graduated. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees at The University of Madrid, Spain. While in medical school, Gabe played professional basketball in Real Madrid, Spain. Upon graduation from medical school, he served an internship at St. Vincent's Hospital, a surgical residency at Lloyd Noland Hospital, and a neurosurgical residency at University of Alabama Hospital, all in Birmingham, Alabama.
Gabe practiced neurology and neurosurgery in Tuscaloosa for over 30 years, treating literally thousands of West Alabamians and East Mississippians. He pioneered neurosurgery in Tuscaloosa in the late 1960s and 1970s. He served as team neurologist and neurosurgeon for his beloved Alabama Crimson Tide football team for 31 years under Head Coaches Paul W. Bryant, Ray Perkins, and Gene Stallings.
Alabama football and his family were Gabe's true passions. He will be remembered for his quick wit, great stories, and his kindness to his friends, patients, and family. He enjoyed life and lived it to the fullest. He will be dearly missed by his family and by all whose lives he touched.
Pallbearers will be Johnny Musso, Dr. Bill Taylor, Jackie Cummings, James Buttram, Dr. Bill Standeffer, Rodney Windham, Mal Moore, Fred Perkinson, Jr., Dr. Joe O'Neal, Gerald Topazi, and Dr. Everett Hale.
Honorary pallbearers are friends at Indian Hills Country Club 19th Hole, University of Alabama Athletic Department, Ray Perkins, Jack Rutledge, Clem Gryska, Dr. Wayne May, Paul Bryant, Jr., Jimmy Hinton, Sr., Jack Kapphan, and Moon Mullins.
The family expresses its appreciation to Dr. Ross Vaughn, Dr. Pedro Lopez, Dr. John Ferguson, Dr. Phil Hemstreet, Dr. Alexandre Todorov, DCH staff, and Southern Care Hospice, especially Dana Avery, RN, for their care.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. Francis University Parish Building Fund, 811 5th Avenue, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401.
Published in Tuscaloosa News from Apr. 26 to Apr. 27, 2011.