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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Service will honor Jorge Fernandes

By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer

Mourners will gather tonight at Church of the Crossroads to share memories of scholar Jorge Luis Andrade Fernandes, a friend and loved one they affectionately called an "old soul." Fernandes, who was a doctoral student and later a faculty member at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa for 11 years, died Dec. 19 in an automobile accident in State College, Pa. He was 36.

Fernandes was born Feb. 26, 1968, in Praia, Cape Verde, off the west coast of Africa. When he was 16, his parents moved their family to Boston, where Fernandes learned English as a senior in high school.

In 1990, Fernandes graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in biology and African and African-American Studies. While at Brandeis, he also met his future wife, Sasha Treschuk, a Moanalua High School graduate.

He then received a master's degree in African and African-American Studies in 1993 from Howard University. That same year, he moved to Hawai'i with Sasha so she could attend medical school in Manoa. Fernandes began his doctoral studies in political science.

The couple married in Hawai'i in 1999. Their only child, a son named Gabriel, was born in 2002, the same year that Fernandes earned his Ph.D. in political science.

"He was just gentle and strong," said his wife, Sasha Fernandes, 34. "He was such a good father. He just loved Gabriel. He would say: Sasha, thank you for our son."

Her husband's scholarly excellence was not the only thing that defined him, she said.

"He wasn't only brilliant, he was kind to people," Sasha Fernandes said. "Some people let their egos get in the way. He was just so generous and would help people all the time."

Fernandes moved his family to Bowling Green State University in Ohio last August so he could become a visiting professor of ethnic studies. At the time of his death, he was considering full-time positions there in either English or ethnic studies, his wife said.

Leaving Hawai'i was difficult. Like his homeland of Cape Verde, it was an island culture and it felt familiar.

"He loved the people," his wife said. "He loved the food. He loved the music."

Tonight's memorial service will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Weaver Hall at Church of the Crossroads. The family requests casual attire and no flowers.

Fernandes is survived by wife, Sasha; son, Gabriel; parents, Adolfo and Elisa Fernandes; grandmother Margarida Fernandes; sister Margarida Fernandes; brothers Rui, Leao and Antonio Fernandes.

Reach Mike Gordon at mgordon@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8012.