Rita Marie Fernandez was born on October 29, 1946, at Rochester Olmsted MN to Harlan E. and Ilean Nereson and passed away unexpectedly at her home in Naches, WA on December 10, 2020. Rita moved to Washington in 1972 where she spent the remainder of her life enjoying a year-round outdoor lifestyle of snow skiing and mountain climbing with the Olympia Mountaineers.
Rita met single father Adrian Fernandez in 1978 and they married September 18, 1979. She soon adopted Adrian’s son Larry and in 1980 another son Mike was born completing the family. The family moved from their home in Centralia to Packwood in 1983, before settling in Forks in 1986. Over the next 28 years, they raised their family and Rita worked for the DNR in finance. The family spent many happy fun-filled weekends at White Pass skiing and summers climbing all the major mountains in Washington until Rita’s knees would no longer allow such strenuous activity. After the boys were grown, Rita worked as a volunteer EMT for Forks Ambulance and was the go-to person for the Red Cross Disaster Relief Program, assisting in local disasters such as fire or flood in Forks. She also volunteered for the National Ski Patrol with Hurricane Ridge and then WhitePass Ski Patrol from 1986-2019. Until her retirement in 2012, Rita was a member of the Washington Incident Management Team, as a Time Unit Recorder, working natural disasters such as fires and hurricanes like the Katrina Incident. Upon Adrian’s retirement in 2016 they moved to their home against the hills in Naches WA, where Rita enjoyed sitting on the porch, enjoying the view and playing with her kitties.
Rita is survived by her husband of 41 years Adrian Fernandez of Naches, sons Larry (Annina) of New Church, Virginia and Mike (Rebecca) of Anchorage Alaska. Grandchildren Maxine, Grace, Natalie, Justin, Addison, Jennifer and Makayla. Brother Tuz Nereson (Linda) of Dodge Center MN.
A Memorial service is planned for March 2021 in Naches WA. More details will be available at a later date. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.keithandkeith.com