American Veteran 01

Gerome Fernandez

February 10, 1933 ~ July 22, 2022 (age 89)

Obituary Image

Obituary

Gerome Fernandez was born in Overa, Spain on February 10, 1933. He was born to Urbano Fernandez
and Petronila Garcia. When Gerome was a toddler, his father left Spain to work in the Pennsylvania coal
mines. He was lovingly raised by his mother, Petronila, who sadly died when Gerome was 3 years old. As
this was during the Spanish Civil War, Gerome was raised by his paternal grandparents and 8 aunts and
uncles. His grandmother, Dolores, made sure he was able to eat during a time of hunger in their small
village in Southern Spain. During the height of the war when there was not enough food for everyone in
the family to eat, his grandmother secured one egg, cooked it and told him to eat the egg in the closet
and to not tell anyone. He referred to his grandmother as Mama and she remained close to his heart
throughout his life.
At the age of 13 and after World War II had ended, Gerome was able to reunite with his father in the
United States to live in Hazlet, NJ. This transition was not easy as he did not speak the language nor did
he know his father or his step-mother and step-siblings. He was lovingly accepted by his step-mother,
Gaetana, who raised him as her own. He grew up in a Hazlet that was less populated and more rural
than today. He fed chickens, went sledding down the hill on Middle Road, and met up with friends at the
local Sweet Shop. He attended Keyport High School and then entered the Navy in 1953. He was proud
to serve as a Class A Radioman for 3 ½ years on the USS Coolbaugh. In later years, he would teach his
grandchildren how to spell their name in Morse Code. During his time in the Navy, he earned the
National Defense Service Ribbon – Good Conduct Medal.
After his honorable discharge, he took a trip back to his hometown of Overa to visit his grandmother
and family. During his visit, he met the love of his life, Maria Parra. Gerome always recounted that at the
initial encounter he told his friend she was the most beautiful woman and he knew she was going to be
his wife. After a long distance courtship, Gerome returned to Spain to marry Maria in their hometown.
They left Spain and started their life together in Hazlet. As young newlyweds, Gerome started Fernandez
Asphalt Paving Company, which coincided with the birth of their first son, Urbano. While building his
business, Gerome and Maria welcomed three more children: John, Maria and Nila. Although Gerome
was the president of his company, he always saw himself as a laborer who knew how to use a shovel
and a broom.
Gerome moved the family to Cliffwood, NJ where he enjoyed hosting family holiday parties and
barbecues by the pool. Yearly, the family would travel back to Spain to visit relatives and would proudly
show his children where he grew up and to learn more about their culture. Gerome would take his
children to climb a nearby mountain. While climbing, he would warn them of scorpions under rocks and
pick sprigs of wild rosemary to leave as an offering at the small chapel at the top. After retirement, he
would continue to visit Spain but would long to come home to spend time with his children and
grandchildren.
Gerome is survived by Maria, his wife of 63 years, his children, Urb and his wife Joan Fernandez of
Middletown, John and his wife Tricia Fernandez of Middletown, Maria and her husband Anthony
Calcaterra of Holmdel, and Nila and her husband DJ Luccarelli of Holmdel. He also leaves behind his
grandchildren, Carla Fernandez, Daniel Fernandez, Ava Calcaterra, Dante Calcaterra, Milena Luccarelli,
Belen Luccarelli and Alessandra Luccarelli.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to the Frances Foundation at:
Frances Foundation for Kids-Fighting Cancer

8 Bryce Road
Holmdel, NJ 07733
Francesfoundation.net

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Services

Visitation
Tuesday
July 26, 2022

3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Day Funeral Home
361 Maple Place
Keyport, NJ 07735

Visitation
Wednesday
July 27, 2022

8:00 AM to 8:50 AM
Day Funeral Home
361 Maple Place
Keyport, NJ 07735

Funeral Mass
Wednesday
July 27, 2022

9:15 AM
St. Catharine's RC Church
108 Middletown Road
Holmdel, NJ 07733

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