Charles Fernandez, 93, Plover, the namesake of The Charles
F. Fernandez Center for Alternative Learning in Stevens Point, died Sunday, Nov.
15, 2015, at his home.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov.
21, at the Boston Funeral Home, with the Rev. Dave Ficken presiding.
Visitation will be at the funeral home from 9 a.m. Saturday until
A memorial will be established in his name at a later date.
Condolences may be offered online at
Mr. Fernandez was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and moved
to Chicago with his family when he was 4 and grew up there.
He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
He then returned to Chicago.
He was married to Yvonne Daufen. She died in 1996 after 53
years of marriage.
They moved to Oshkosh, and he worked as an automotive
technician until being employed by Fox Valley Technical College where he taught
He also served as a director for Migrant Schools for the
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. He retired in 1986.
He was married to Nancy Bangstad 18 years ago.
During his retirement, he worked primarily with at-risk and
emotionally disturbed youth at the Alternative High School in Stevens Point,
which was renamed after him and is now called “The Charles F. Fernandez Center
for Alternative Learning.”
In addition, he also mentored adolescents at Stevens Point
Area Senior High School and at the Juvenile Detention Center. He mentored other
youth at the junior high schools and the Wisconsin Challenge Academy.
He was a past community member of the Stevens Point Area
Board of Education. He was also a mentor for the Volunteers in Probation
program of Justiceworks
He developed several volunteer programs in the community,
including one at the Gateway Return Program sponsored by the Boys & Girls
Club of Portage County.
In addition to his mentoring roles, he assisted the local
courts, law enforcement and the hospitals as a Spanish interpreter.
He received many local awards as well as the Veterans of Foreign
Wars Teacher of the Year Award during his teaching career. In 2001, First Lady
Laurie McCallum awarded him the Wisconsin Outstanding Volunteer of the Year
Award that was presented in Milwaukee at the Alliance for Wisconsin Youth
Conference. The award was presented for “exceptional contributions to youth in
More recently, he received the MetLife Foundation Award,
“Older Americans Enrich America” and was the highest honor winner in the
mentoring category. This national award was presented in Washington, D.C., in
April, 2003. In 2012, he was again named “Mentor of the Decade” with this
In 2010, he received the John Klismet Service award from
Justiceworks, and also a Community Service Recognition award from the Stevens
Point Area Public School District “in recognition of the significant and
profound contributions to the District, for advancing the education of all its
Survivors include his wife, Nancy; nine children, Charles
Fernandez, Sturgeon Bay, Ron (Su) Fernandez, Winchester, Tenn., Lynn Donohoe,
Milwaukee, Peter Fernandez, Oshkosh, Tina Crawford, Corona, Calif., Gina (Craig
Yencho) Fernandez, Raleigh, N.C., Dan (Becky) Fernandez, Kansas City, Mo., Lori
Fernandez, Madison, and Lia Fernandez, New York, N.Y.; three stepchildren, Kim
(Chaess) Anders, Shakopee, Minn., Kirk (Elizabeth Smith) Bangstad, Minocqua,
and Kelly Wilz, Plover; one sister, Margarite Stiffter, Chicago, Ill.; one
brother, Richard Fernandez, Chicago, Ill.; plus many grandchildren and