Dorothy Diane "Dottie" Fernandes
April 05, 1933 - July 21, 2017
On Friday, July 21st, 2017, while holding her daughter Pamela’s hand, Dorothy Diane Fernandes made her escape.
Dorothy, “Dottie” to her friends, debuted on the same day that FDR removed the United States from the Gold Standard. An auspicious start for a woman with a heart of gold.
Her parents, Frank Mesa and Francis Dominiano, of Spanish and Italian descent, were young and of limited means. She was their only child.
Dorothy’s early life was marked by struggle and hardship. As a young child she lived in a one-room shack without running water, or heat. However, she was quick to recall the joy of that time sitting with her Spanish Grandfather as he served her coffee with a pat of butter.
Despite this setback, and time spend in and out of foster homes, she never let bitterness or anger take hold or define her.
Dorothy was a proud, adventurous, beautiful woman, with a generous spirit and a loving and open heart.
As a young girl, Dorothy excelled at singing competitions – a talent she acquired from her father, a professional singer, and passed on to her son, Joe, and granddaughter, Sonoma.
Matrimony came twice and left early leaving her a single mother with three children, often working double shifts or two jobs without complaint. Her children were never left wanting.
In 1963, “Dottie” reported for work as a waitress at the grand opening of Pipers restaurant in San Leandro. She would work there until they closed 40 years later.
In 1971, she married Anthony Fernandes.
A mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, she was selflessly devoted to her family.
She loved a good meal with family and friends, was an excellent and efficient cook and took pride in leaving her kitchen and home organized and tidy.
An avid reader with a passion for biographies, she enjoyed sharing personal stories, and the occasional bit of local gossip with neighbors. She had a quick wit and easy way of talking with everyone she met leaving them with a smile.
A natural beauty, Dorothy was not a showy person, however, she had a distinct sense of style and pride in her appearance down to the smallest detail. Her hair, nails and makeup were always perfect, just the right combination of glamorous and comfortable.
For Dorothy there was always something to do. Gardening, exploring thrift stores with her friend Laurie, looking after her home and family were never chores. She loved life and was always busy. She would often tell her children the point of life is to have fun!
She will remain forever in the hearts of her family – daughter Pamela Parlagreco, son Joseph Parlagreco, grandchildren, James Harrington, Sean Harrington, Sonoma and Nicolo Parlagreco, Tanner Simms, great granddaughter Serenity Simms and husband Anthony Fernandes.
She was preceded in death by her youngest son Peter Bamberg.
Asked to describe her in a word her grandchildren, James, Sean, Sonoma and Nicolo responded - Genuine – Tenacious – Generous – Amazing!
Dorothy remarked more than once that she would like to be reincarnated as a bird.
You are finally free Dorothy - Fly away!