It is with great sadness that the family of Maria Fernandez announces her sudden passing on March 4, 2022, at Twin Cities Hospital in Templeton. She was surrounded by her family.

Maria was born to Jesús Ortiz and Maria Benjamin Tapia in Estación Díaz, Chihuahua, Mexico. She was the oldest of 10 children.

Maria met and married the love of her life, Benito Fernandez, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in 1959. They immigrated to the United States in 1963 and moved their young family to Pahrump, Nevada. They eventually moved to Paso Robles in 1969 and raised their family of 7 children, five girls, and two boys. In 1988, Maria was widowed when her husband Benito died of cancer. She was left to finish raising the youngest family members. To support the family, Maria did housecleaning, ironing, and childcare. She was known as “Nana” by her grandchildren and the children she took care of. One of her great accomplishments was to become a citizen in 1997. Maria is legendary for her homemade tamales, flour tortillas, and salsa. She was happy to share with all.

Maria was known for her strong faith in God and was a faithful parishioner of St. Rose of Lima in Paso Robles. She volunteered at church activities, fed the homeless, was on Cinco de Mayo Committee, participated at Paso Robles High School PTSA events, and was a dedicated Bearcat fan even long after her children had graduated.

Maria’s legacy is her children and grandchildren. She loved nothing more than taking care of her family and being surrounded by family. She exuded with pride as she recounted her children’s accomplishments in college, careers, and raising families of their own.

Maria was preceded in death by her parents, Jesús and Maria Ortiz, brothers Ricardo, Diego, and Jose; sisters Guadalupe and Gracia; and husband, Benito Fernandez. She is survived by four sisters – Martha, Rosa, Sofia, and Teresa; her children Elodia (Ray), Lourdes (Jorge), Linda (Ernesto), Estela (Jim), Esperanza (Cesar), Benito (Roxanne), and Jesus (Amy); her grandchildren Judith, Benito, Ricky, Armando, Luciano, Tony, J.T., Alex, Bill, and Cristian; and many nephews, and nieces.

We will miss her generosity, strength, can-do spirit, and unconditional love and support. She would always say, “Tú sí puedes!” (You can do it!).

Arrangements are in the care of Kuehl-Nicolay Funeral Home of Paso Robles.

3/22  5-9 pm: Viewing/Rosary, Kuehl-Nicolay Funeral Home

3/23 10:30 am: Funeral Mass, St. Rose of Lima followed by burial

1:30 pm: Reception back at St. Rose of Lima

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