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† Fr. Nobincio FERNÁNDEZ sscc (Hawaii)

        Nobincio Fernandez was born on the 28th of September 1929 at Wahiawa, Hawaii. He was the son of the late Jose and Anna Olhol Fernandez. He is survived by brothers and sisters: Rudolpho Notebo, Rosendo Fernandez, Dionisia Fernandez Salvador, Lawrence Fernandez, Adeline Del Rosario, Teresita Fernandez, and Edward Fernandez.
    In 1936, the Fernandez family moved to the island of Kauai. Nobincio attended Kapaa Elementary and was graduated from Kapaa High School in 1948. Following graduation, he volunteered and joined the U.S. Air Force. He did his basic training at Wheeler AFB and then assigned to the Airway and Air Communication Service at Hickam AFB. Throughout his years in the Air Force, Nobincio was stationed at Johnston Island, Japan, Korea, Maryland, North Africa, Okinawa, Colorado and Kwajalein Atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Fernandez received an early discharge in 1955 so that he could join the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.  He told a friend “I changed from Air Force blues to the black suit of a Sacred Hearts seminarian!”
    Completing his college education at Sacred Hearts Seminary in Hauula, Nobincio then traveled to Fairhaven, Massachusetts to begin another type of basic training in 1957.   He spent eighteen months at Sacred Hearts Novitiate learning to be a religious of the Sacred Hearts Congregation. One of the requirements in the Novitiate program was the taking of a new name in religious life. He took the name Brother Martin Mary Fernandez. Brother Fernandez pronounced his first vows in 1959 and later at Queen of Peace Major Seminary, Jaffrey Center, New Hampshire, took his final vows in 1962. Three years later he was ordained a priest at Our Lady of Peace Cathedral in Honolulu by the first Bishop of Honolulu, James J. Sweeney.
    Throughout his 42 years as a priest, Father Fernandez was assigned to a number of island parishes: St. George, St. Elizabeth, St. Roch, St. Joseph, St. Anthony, Wailuku and St. Michael in Waialua. In 1969 he returned to the Air Force as a Reserve Chaplain attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Having served ten years, Father officially retired from military service and was given a special assignment to Kalaupapa as pastor of St. Francis Church. He was so elated to be following in the footsteps of Father Damien!   In a letter to a friend, Father spoke of Kalaupapa as being a place with “no large buildings but 120 wonderful H.D. (Hansen Disease) patients! I hope to remain here until my retirement!”
    True to his words, Father remained in Kalaupapa for thirteen years. Finally unable to continue because of nagging knee problems he decided to seek retirement at the Congregation’s retirement house in Kaneohe, Hawaii.   While in residence, Fernandez enjoyed feeding the wild birds and cooking for the entire community. A week ago he was sent to Castle Hospital for internal bleeding. It was in the hospital that he suffered a major stroke from which he would not recover. Father was then transported to St. Francis West hospice where he peacefully died on January 31, 2008. He was 78 years old.
    A funeral Mass has been scheduled for Tuesday evening, February 12, 2008, at St. Patrick Church, Kaimuki, 7:00 PM.   Burial with military honors will be on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at the Hawaiian Memorial Park Cemetery, at 9:00 AM.

Chris Keahi sscc