Matthew Ward Fernandez
May 25th 2023
Matthew “Matt” Ward Fernandez passed away suddenly on Thursday, May 25, 2023 at the age of 64 with close friends and family by his side. Beloved husband of 37 years to JoAnn “Betty” Fernandez (nee Bumbicka); cherished Father to Daniel and Lauren Fernandez, Mitchell and Caitlin “Thundy” Fernandez, and Andrew Fernandez; loving grandfather to Owen and Vivianne (Sassy) Fernandez; dear uncle to Gina (Eric) Pyke, Luke (Stephanie) Fernandez, Bridget Ritter, Kate (Eric) Stecher, Mary (Matt) McDonough, Karla (Mike) Schlueter and Kyle (Lynn) Fernandez; beloved brother-in-law to Larry (Kathy) Bumbicka and Nancy Fernandez; great-uncle, godfather, friend, and neighbor to many. Preceded in death by his parents Joe and Marianne Fernandez (King) and brothers Mark and Mitchell Fernandez.
Matt retired at the age of 56, after a 36 year career as a heavy equipment operator for Ameren UE (Local 148) at Rush Island Power Plant, where he was known as “Cat Man”. Though Matt was proud of his career, his most cherished accomplishment was providing joy and happiness to those around him. Retirement gave him the opportunity to put the coffee on every morning for Jo, his life partner and best friend, whom he adored. Family and friends of Matt never questioned where to go for comic relief or loving support. Strangers were short lived, as Matt was always quick to strike up a conversation in any situation. Free time was spent having pizza party sleepovers with Owen, listening to music (especially the Allman Brothers Band), smoking cigars, making fishing lures, watching horror films, collecting pocket knives and gadgets, or tinkering with various projects around the house. An avid fisherman, Matt cherished an annual fishing trip with the boys. Matt spent his final days doing what he loved, with people he loved, at his favorite place, Lake 7 Falls, a place where so many special memories were made, even leading up to his final moments.
Matt will be dearly missed by everyone that met him. His kind and loving spirit will live on in the hearts of everyone that was lucky enough to know him.
Goodbye’s too good a word, babe
So I’ll just say “fare thee well”
In lieu of flowers memorial donations can be made to The Ike Foundation® is a non-profit organization founded by Mike and Becky Iaconelli. Their mission is to introduce urban and rural children to the wholesome sport of fishing while instilling in them a love and respect for the outdoors.
Donations to the foundation in Matt’s memory can be made here: https://theikefoundation.org/donate/
The C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation enriches the lives of children with special needs, supports their families, and strengthens communities through the sport of fishing.
They empower families and communities to celebrate children with special needs, making these children feel valued and loved so they can overcome limitations and be successful.
Donations to the foundation in Matt’s memory can be made here: https://castforkids.networkforgood.com/projects/56352-c-a-s-t-for-kids-donations
Visitation will be held on Thursday, June 1, 2023 from 4:00 pm until prayer service at 7:00 pm. With visitation continue until 8:00 pm at John L. Ziegenhein & Sons South County Chapel, 4830 Lemay Ferry Road.