Family hero, relentless jokester, devout Catholic and true servant leader, Julian Hernandez, Jr. may have only stood 5’7” tall, but he was a giant among men, with an even larger heart. He entered the Lord’s Home on July 10, 2018, surrounded by his loving family.
He was 77 years young.
Born with a stillborn twin sister on October 23, 1940 in Taylor, Texas, Julian learned too many of life’s harsh lessons as one of 13 children in a migrant farm worker family, picking seasonal produce from South Texas to America’s heartland in the Midwest.
Julian owned a thriving business at six years of age, shining shoes along Sixth Street in Austin, Texas.
As a 10-year old child, Julian walked three miles each way from his family home in Saxet Heights to serve as an Altar Boy at Corpus Christi’s oldest church, Sacred Heart.
After graduating from Roy Miller High School in 1960, Julian enlisted in the United States Air Force on September 6th of that year, becoming a Non-Commissioned Officer and Mobile Communications Specialist at Defense Early Warning sites across the globe. He retired following 33 years of meritorious service including active duty, reserve duty and DEA special assignments.
The best decision of his life was marrying his high school sweetheart, Ernestine Rodriguez, whom survives him. They were married in Corpus Christi, Texas on August 3, 1961. Their epic love story lasted 57 years
All three of their children were born on American military instillations: Lisa in 1962 on Elmendorf AFB, Anchorage, Alaska; Toni in 1963 at the Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, Texas; and Julian III in 1964 on Tinker AFB, Midwest City, Oklahoma.
Julian provided his family with a never-ending sense of physical safety and emotional security, constantly showering his loved ones with heartfelt hugs and kisses, particularly his grandchildren Laurena Rene Pardo and Matthew Antonio Pardo of San Antonio, Texas, and Kalee Christina Hernandez from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
A father figure and boot-camp drill sergeant to countless wayward sons, Julian gave selflessly to his community as a longtime Westside Little League Coach and Team Photographer. Julian used his GI Bill to earn a Barber’s license so he could cut hair as the League’s Barber throughout the 70s.
He went on to serve four decades as a staunch union steward defending the interests of rank-and-file steelworkers and the American Federation of Government Employees.
A self-professed “Mama’s Boy,” Julian inherited her green thumb. One of his proudest achievements was growing a gargantuan 30-foot tall bird of paradise in his lush garden.
Julian is preceded in death by his parents, Julian, Sr. of San Luis Potosi, Mexico and Antonia Ramos of Granger, Texas, and siblings Margaret Vasquez of Spur, Texas, Andrea Casarez of Corpus Christi, Texas, and Amelia Gilchrest of Long Beach, California.
He leaves behind grieving siblings Teodoro Hernandez of Waco, Texas, Teresa Guerra of Corpus Christi, Texas, Ernestina (George) Rosas of Corpus Christi, Texas, Grace Hernandez of San Antonio, Texas, and Mari Cantu of Corpus Christi, Texas.
Along with his generous spirit, we carry in our hearts, his life motto: If you fail to plan, plan to fail.
Visitation will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 15, 2018 at Corpus Christi Funeral Home with a Rosary to be recited at 7:00 p.m. that same evening.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, July 16, 2018 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with Celebrant Bishop James Tamayo officiating.
Interment to follow at Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery.