WHEATLAND – Dionisio “Victor” Fernández, died from COVID-19 at the Platte County Memorial Hospital, on Sept. 1, 2021.
The son of Gabriel Fernandez and Luisa Ramirez, Dionisio was born in March 1924 in Alpine, Texas. While he was still very young, Dionisio and his family relocated to Fresnillo, Zacatecas, Mexico, where his family was originally from. As a child he loved school, but he had to sacrifice his formal education and start working soon after elementary school to help support his family. In his late teens, he set off by train and foot to return to the United States. In the early 1940s, he joined the U.S. Army, and was stationed in the Philippines during WWII, where he performed duties as a medic. He was awarded the World War II Victory Medal, Philippine Independence Ribbon, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal and Good Conduct medal for his service.
After leaving the service, Dionisio spent time traveling up and down the West Coast from California to Oregon, where he worked various jobs. He eventually returned to San Francisco where he trained at a culinary school and then spent many years as a waiter at some of San Francisco’s finest restaurants including at the Fairmont Hotel, Cliff House and DiMaggio’s. He often regaled his family with stories of waiting on politicians, celebrities and athletes, such as Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope and Joe DiMaggio. He enjoyed meeting people from around the world and learning about their culture and language.
In March 1966, he and Dorothy Havely eloped in Reno. Dorothy was originally from Slater. In 1979, they moved with their four children from San Francisco to Wheatland, to be closer to her family. Dionisio always said that he was “tricked” into moving because prior to the big move, he had only visited Wyoming in the summer. And, they arrived just in time for the infamous blizzard of ’79.
Dionisio was a hard worker and in 1989 he retired from Safeway after several years. Not one to sit still, he continued to do odd jobs well into his retirement. He was also called on at times to help as a Spanish interpreter for law enforcement and school proceedings. Dionisio loved children and he and Dorothy baby-sat several kids and took in foster children. In the mid-nineties they expanded their family by adopting a toddler, Cody, and giving him a loving home.
Dionisio was an avid reader and up until his death he spent time learning about history, politics, religion and just about any other topic under the sun. He always had a book by his side. He was also an avid writer, not only journaling about his own life, but also writing many letters to the editor defending the immigrant community when it was being vilified by others in Wyoming.
Dionisio cared for the many birds, squirrels, rabbits and stray cats that visited his yard. He also loved to prepare special treats for Farley, the parrot. He shared a love of animals with his wife, and they instilled this love in their children. Dionisio also enjoyed being outdoors and he kept continuously active, from shoveling snow in the winter to mowing his own lawn up until just a few weeks before his death.
Dionisio loved his wife and family, and he has left them with many treasured memories of a husband and father who worked hard and sacrificed, to support his family and so that his children would have an easier life than his own. He always reminded his children, “Education is something they can’t take away from you.”
Dionisio is survived by his wife, Dorothy (Havely) of Wheatland; daughters, Louisa Gutierrez and Dorothy Fernandez; and sons, Carlos Fernandez, Gabriel Fernandez, Antonio Fernandez, Felipe Fernandez and Cody Fernandez. He also leaves behind thirteen grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.
No services are planned at this time. Please send memories of Dionisio to his wife Dorothy.