Around Bosco: Last Weekend The Bosco Community Celebrated The Life Of Mr. Ismael “Ish” Fernandez
by Pedro Ochoa
It has been six weeks since the departure of one St. John Bosco’s Bravest. On Friday, March 19 and March 20, 2021, the Bosco community celebrated the life of their fallen superhero, Ismael “Ish” Fernandez. Ish was a respected individual because he not only embodied what it meant to be a Bosco Brave, but also a Salesian man.
God needed one more security guard to protect the Gates of Heaven.
Last Friday, Ish was brought onto campus for one final time. Family, friends, faculty and students gathered to receive him, as the Victory Bell was being rung for one of Bosco’s everyday protectors. Eight Bosco Braves rolled in the casket to be presented to his Bosco family. Spectators described this moment as unreal, as many people are still in shock of the unexpected passing.
“Nobody wanted this to happen to anyone, and especially not to Ish. Ish meant a lot to not only the Bosco Braves, but for the whole community. You were able to feel the emotions when Ish entered the Quad,” said senior Hector Andrade.
Emotions were poured out by many on Friday, from veteran coworkers, to alumni, to current Bosco Braves. He treated everyone with the same integrity and with the same love. Everyone had a different story with Ish that they will remember forever.
“Ish was the first person that greeted me when I arrived at Bosco everyday, and he was always the last person that I saw before going home. It was always a blessing to see him everyday, and when I didn’t, I was always on the lookout for him,” said senior Ryan Sheehan.
Ish was the first and last person that people would see everyday in his golf cart when going to Bosco. He would brighten people’s days by just being there and asking how their day was. It was a tradition seeing Ish everyday in front of the campus since he worked at Bosco for over twenty years.
Ish will be remembered by his famous Golf Cart. He was known for speeding around campus in the cart to ensure the safety of the Bosco Braves. He never failed to protect those he loved. Even though he had a tough stature and look, Ish was always caring. He was one of very few that cared for everyone that he came in contact with.
“Even though I didn’t know Ish on a personal level, he always seemed to care about me,” said freshman Rafael Sanchez.
Very few Class of 2024 students made contact with Ish, but there are so many stories from many people that the freshman felt like they knew Ish on a personal level.
On Saturday March 20, 2021, Ish was taken out of the Bosco campus for the last time. Family and friends attended the services for their beloved superhero. This mass was far from the ordinary. It took place in the Panish Family Football Stadium with family and friends wearing Raiders gear to support their fallen loved one.
“Out of all the funerals that I have been to, this one was very different. This was not a mourning of Ish’s life, it was a celebration of everything he did, for everyone,” said senior and Campus Ministry Chair Jesus Jimenez.
Even though no one wants to have a funeral, especially as early as Ish’s, this is the type of funeral that Ish would have liked. He had Bosco students, Bosco alumni and his family as the Pallbearers for his casket, and it was a funeral like no other. It was informal while having the people that meant the most to him at his service.
It was hard for everyone to say goodbye to their beloved friend, but Ish would want everyone to keep moving forward. There were some unique goodbyes from his family that Ish would have loved, from football stories to Raider’s chants. A very special way to say goodbye. A celebration of life it was, as there were more smiles than tears. Ish would have definitely loved the way his family put together his service.
“When I die, I want Ish to be the security at the gate, because then I will have a better chance to make it into Heaven,” said Father Ted at Ish’s funeral service.
As a Bosco community, Ish will be remembered as far more than just a security guard. He built relationships with everyone in the Bosco community that can not be replaced. Ish will be remembered for getting to know students by being willing to engage in conversations at various times throughout the school day. He also built certain bonds with staff that are unbreakable, as he was a groomsman in interim principal Mr. Jaramillo’s wedding.
Ish will be remembered by putting others in front of himself. This is what it means to be a Salesian. He had an unmatched Salesian character. Ish was tough, resilient and selfless as he protected and defended Bosco to the best of his ability. Ish made an impact on the Bosco community that will never be forgotten.
Ish’s missing presence is already being seen around campus. It is seen in front of the Bosco campus with his famous cart and him not in the driver’s seat. It has especially been seen at the football games, where he is not there supporting the team like he would.
Ish will always be remembered, especially by the little things. His toughness, his wisdom and the determination to serve God and his community. This is what it means to be a true Salesian. Ish is now protecting and being protected by the Lord. He will forever be watching over and protecting his family and his Bosco Braves. Even though he is gone, his spirit will live forever with the Bosco community.
Ish would want the Bosco community to learn that there are sudden changes that happen, and through that, they need to learn how to move on, even if it might be hard. He would want the Bosco Braves to do what he did, which is caring for one another and finding the positive in everything they do.
The Bosco community will forever miss you. Rest in peace, Ish.