AKA Dr Cool Dude
August 5, 1949 – December 12, 2018
With apologies to Mark Twain…if you are reading this, reports of my demise are not exaggerated.
Raised in Salt Lake City, after High School I attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio followed by graduate work at the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!), earning a PhD in Theoretical Mathematics. After stints as a College Math professor at two universities in Michigan, I completed a MS in Computer Science at Michigan State University and changed careers to software development and management, first at AT&T Bell Laboratories then at Boeing.
After retiring from Boeing in 2012, in addition to teaching Math for the UW Upward Bound program, I chose to volunteer at Cleveland and Franklin High Schools in South Seattle, working with teachers and students to help ensure that students who wanted to attend College would have the knowledge and confidence in Mathematics to be successful in any field of study. I loved seeing students light up when they understood a complex Math topic that had previously been a mystery to them. After rapping a calculus lesson, I was bestowed the heartwarming moniker “Dr Cool Dude”. Between 2012 and 2018, it was awesome to see both schools substantially strengthen their Math programs through AP Calculus.
I was preceded in death by my father William Fernandez and stepfather Richard Henry. I am survived by my wife Peggy, mother Patricia Henry, brothers David (Alexa) and Paul (Hunter), sisters Kathy and Patti (Scott), borrowed son Michael (Rachael) Howard and cherished granddaughters Miya and Ava Howard.
Peggy Watkins, my spouse and loving partner of 25 years has been the greatest joy in my life. She made me a better person in so many ways. When I was diagnosed with Corticobasal Degeneration syndrome in 2014, she kept encouraging me and made home accommodations that allowed me to remain home as my illness progressed. Peggy was my cheerleader, always patient, putting up with my, at times, grumpy disposition.
I wish to give special thanks to Team Jim (you know who you are), caregivers Tony and Tili, the Swedish Cherry Hill Movement Disorder Clinic and Providence Hospice.
I ask for no flowers or formal service. For those who knew me, all I ask is that you think of a good interaction that we had and hopefully smile once or twice.