November 14, 2013

Felicia (Sotolongo) Fernandez

Felicia (Sotolongo) Fernandez          

 of Succasunna, NJ, age 89

Roxbury Twsp.-  Felicia Fernandez of Succasunna, NJ , passed away on  Thursday. November14,2013 at the Merry Heart Nursing Home in Succasunna..

A  resident of Succasunna for the past 25 years, Felicia was born September 16, 1924 in Holguin, Oriente, Cuba to Jose Hipolito and Juana Maria (Garcia) Sotolongo. She married her husband of 68 years, Ovidio Fernandez, in 1945 and moved to Ciego de Avila, Cuba where she resided and raised her daughter, Mercedes, until shortly after the 1959 Fidel Castro revolution and Communist indoctrination of Cuba. It was then that Felicia and her husband, fearing for their future and their child’s future under the brutal Castro regime, decided as did  many Cuban families, to send their daughter to a refugee camp in America  as part of the Pedro Pan Operation (mass exodus of over 14,000 unaccompied children leaving Cuba), meeting up later. Felicia and Ovidio immigrated to the USA in 1962. Like so many refugees arriving in Miami they came with nothing but the clothes on their back, Felicia and her family were fortunate to find haven in the Dover NJ area thanks to their sponsorship by St. John’s Episcopal Church of Dover in 1963. The parish provided financial assistance,  food & clothing and helped find shelter & employment for the family. Felicia was always so grateful for the church’s compassionate help in her settling in a new country with a promising future, She became a US citizen in 1972.

   Felicia lived in Morris County,NJ for the last 50 years, residing in Dover, Kenvil and Morristown, before moving to Succasunna in 1988. She worked at the Swiss Knitting Mill in Dover and then for Transistor Devices in Cedar Knolls for many years until retiring.

   Felicia was predeceased by her sister Maria (“La Nina”) Mercedes and her 4 brothers, Jorge (“Yoyo”) Luis, Juan (“Chiquitin”) Ernesto, Jose (Bebe”) Hipolito,and Jose (“Pepe”) Antonio Sotolongo

   She is survived by her husband Ovidio of Succasunna, her daughter Mercedes and husband Robert Davenport of Succasunna, her grandchildren Michael Davenport of Ocean Grove,NJ and Mary Jane & husband Thomas Parr of Succasunna, NJ and 3 great grandchildren Thomas (TJ), Trevor and Tucker Parr.

   Called affectionately by all as “Mama”, Felicia was known by her seemingly endless amount of vitality and energy and her love of cooking, especially Cuban cuisine for family. She also enjoyed tending to flowers in her yard and watching the cooking channel on TV and traveling to Miami in her earlier years to visit family and friends there. Felicia kept in touch with family and friends left behind in Cuba and helped those  still there suffering from  hardships to the best of her ability.

     Private  services will be conducted by the Davis and Hepplewhite Funeral Home, 96 Main Street, Succasunna, NJ with interment at the First Presbyterian Cemetery in Succasunna.

 Donations in Felicia’s memory may be made to St. John’s Episcopal Church, 11 S Bergen Street, Dover, NJ 07801, in recognition of the kindness they extended to Felicia and her family in the past.

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