Isabel Fernandez, known to friends and family as ‘Nene,’ passed with peace and grace surrounded by her loving family on Sunday, January 12, 2020.
Nene was born in Santiago de Cuba, on September 18, 1927 to Ruperto and Felicia Arias. In her youth, she loved traveling around the small island to visit with all members of her family and her friends, playing canasta and spending time at the beach. In 1948, she married George J. Fernandez and they had two children, Isabel and George. When Fidel Castro came to power in the country in 1960, her family left Cuba and moved to the U.S. to begin a new life in Lakeland, Florida.
Nene was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. She was loved and admired dearly by her family and friends who will greatly miss not only her presence, but her kindness, sense of humor, and witty nature.
Her favorite thing to do was to celebrate her loved ones and her community. Her favorite way to do so was by preparing wonderful meals, especially for those who were sick and in need, and she had a way of brightening everyone’s day with her wit and penchant for storytelling. Some of the fondest memories took place at her kitchen table, sharing a delicious dish she lovingly prepared while she regaled everyone with funny stories and her favorite Cuban sayings. In 2013, the Lakeland Hispanic Club honored Nene with an award recognizing her for her generous and humanitarian efforts to help the Lakeland community.
Nene is loved dearly by her family and friends and she will be greatly missed. She is survived by her daughter Isabel Fernandez Larson, son George M. Fernandez (Ani), sister Carmen Gonzalez, brother Carlos Arias Balart, and grandchildren Eric Larson (Buffy), Ryan Larson (Courtney), George A. Fernandez (Loren), Adriana Fernandez, and Andrew Fernandez. She is also survived by great-grandchildren, Ashton, Jake, Alex, and Georgia, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Family will receive friends at 10 o’clock Friday, January 31st, followed by a celebration mass at 11 o’clock at Resurrection Catholic Church, 333 Terrace Way, in Lakeland, Florida.