Manny Fernandes '64, a beloved cashier at the student dining hall at Saint Mary's College, died on Dec. 26 of complications from diabetes. He was 63 years old.
Mr. Fernandes was proud of his Gael background and loved talking to students and following the careers of student athletes. He volunteered at KSMC, the college radio station, as an engineer for sports broadcasts, and kept copious statistics on athletic teams.
"He loved his job because he loved interacting with the students," said Matt Carroll, director of Sodexho, which provides food services at SMC. "He loved Saint Mary's."
Fernandes' daughter, Jennifer Faria, echoed that sentiment.
"I pretty much remember growing up at Saint Mary's," Mrs. Faria said. "It was really in our lives because we'd go with him when he engineered his radio shows. We'd go to the bookstore and the Brickpile. He had lots of contact with students. He knew all their names; he knew everything about their careers and sports."
Mr. Fernandes was born in Bristol, R.I., and moved to California as a teenager. He graduated from Saint Mary's College with a bachelor's degree in Spanish, and had worked on obtaining a master's degree, his daughter said. He worked as a teacher in Contra Costa County, and then at J.I. Case in San Leandro, a tractor company.
Mr. Fernandes, who had volunteered for years at Saint Mary's College in sports-related activities, started working for Sodexho in 1997. Carroll called him "our chief liaison" with students.
"Students loved him. He was very personable," Carroll said.
Mrs. Faria said the three most important things in her father's life were his children, his Portuguese heritage and Saint Mary's.
Mr. Fernandes, who most recently lived in Pleasant Hill, is survived by three children, Manuel Hernandes, Diana Smith and Mrs. Faria, along with his former wife, Kay Torres. He is also survived by seven grandchildren, Angelina and Helen Fernandes; Connor, Collin and Cameron Smith, and Molly and Clara Faria.
A funeral Mass was held Dec. 30 at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Grace Church in Castro Valley. A special Memorial Mass will be celebrated for Mr. Fernandes at noon on Wednesday, January 11, 2006, in Saint Mary's College Chapel. Following the Mass, all are welcome to continue sharing stories and memories at lunch in Oliver Hall.
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