Nicolas Hernandez of Milford, Indiana passed away peacefully in his sleep at home with his family at 6:57 a.m. on Wednesday, July 20, 2022 at the age of 77. He was known to many as Nick, Nico to his wife and family and of course Pop and Papi to his children and grandchildren. His body never recovered from his six-month covid battle in 2021 and his soul is finally set free to be whole again with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Nick was born on August 8, 1944 in Harlingen, Texas to Rosenda Delgado and Isidro Hernandez. He grew up in the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico as part of a large family. He met his future bride when they were around 15 years old at a school dance. At the age of 20 he married his best friend and only love, Belem Oviedo on October 24, 1964. When they were first married, they moved around and worked as seasonal migrant farm workers. At one time they picked strawberries in Florida as well as picked tomatoes, green beans, apples, and blueberries here in Indiana. They made their final move to Milford, Indiana in October of 1968 where it has been home ever since. Together they raised two sons and seven daughters throughout their 57 years of marriage.
He started working for Smoker Craft, Inc. in New Paris, Indiana on November 11, 1969 and was a loyal hardworking employee for almost 40 years until he “retired” in 2008. Our dad was one of the hardest working men around, and many a night he would yell at us to “be quiet, go to sleep, or I am coming in there!” Until we were adults, we never fully appreciated how this wonderful man woke up every weekday at 4:45 a.m. to shower, eat the breakfast that our mom prepared for him every morning so that he could be at work by 6:00 a.m. to support us. He would kiss her goodbye every morning when he left to work and kissed her hello when he came home. He would always come home by 3:30 p.m. to turn around to work some more someplace else. Many times, all of us kids with our mom, would go pick apples at Kercher’s Orchard in Goshen for years to help ends meet. We would pick rows and rows of green beans alongside him at Bullard Farms in Elkhart. He instilled in us a work ethic that no matter what it is you do, you do your best at that job. He would try to make picking fun and would tell us see who could fill up their bucket first of apples, blueberries or strawberries....we were kids so we still complained a lot. The many trips in the truck driving to Mexico to visit family were always a combination of stressful and fun. We always made it home with no one missing. He loved HIS Mexico and missed it dearly, he enjoyed singing to Vicente Fernandez while he drove, listening to ranchero music, and watching westerns with Clint Eastwood and John Wayne.
Years ago, he started to heat our house with a wood stove and started chopping wood. Through his watchful eye and us “volunteers” that would help him split the wood and stack it neatly disguising a whole other pile of wood needing to be split in the center of his wood fort. Pop started selling firewood by the dump truck load and delivering it after work for many years. He enjoyed cutting wood with his many chainsaws, wood splitter and ax in the summer, spring, fall and winter. We always ended up taking our family photos by his beloved wood pile. He loved for us to kiss him on the cheek whenever we came home to see him while at the same time scratching our skin with his stubbly cheek. Pop especially LOVED to kiss and bear hug his grandchildren, squeezes so hard you couldn’t break free from. He was a great dad, serious when he needed to be, a disciplinarian, as well as very childish when it came to joking around. He enjoyed talking to everyone and could strike up a conversation anywhere. Pop was proud to attend all of our graduations, weddings, birthdays, baptisms, and whatever the special occasion was when he was able to. He was always interested in what we were doing and he tried his best to be there for us.
Our Pop was of Catholic faith and though he never quite made it to church every Sunday, he dearly loved the Lord and made sure all of his children were baptized. Milford Chapel held a special place in his heart for all of the years they taught us about Jesus at Vacation Bible School and Wednesday night bible study. To this day, all of his grandchildren have gone every year to Milford Chapel’s Vacation Bible School. I am sure our Mom enjoyed a few hours of peace on those days too. There are so many memories each of us have about Nick, as a friend, relative, husband, dad, and grandfather that we will forever cherish. We will definitely miss him always saying “Yellllllow!” instead of just hello, and the many voicemails he left on our phones that started as “Hello, this is your father….”as if we couldn’t recognize his voice. His passing leaves a huge hole in our hearts, but I guess that just means we loved him so very much. We will miss you Pop!
He leaves behind his wife, Belem Hernandez (Milford, Indiana), two sons, Nicolas (Idalia) Hernandez, Jr. (Milford, Indiana), Raf Hernandez (Goshen, Indiana), and seven daughters, Rosita (Saul) Pedroza (Milford, Indiana), Mary Lou Hernandez (Happy Valley, Oregon), Anita Hernandez (Warsaw, Indiana), Maria (Reyes) Tienda (Milford, Indiana), Sarita Hernandez (Milford, Indiana), Mary Ellen (David) Jackson (Milford, Indiana), and Violeta Herrera (Milford, Indiana). He raised so many girls that he loved that he finally had boys in twenty grandsons: Saulito, Daniel, Cris, Rodrigo Ronualdo, Arnold, Rey, Oscar, Alex, Lorenzo, Adam, Marcos, Rafailito Jr., Angel, Mateo, Panchito, Vicente, Andres, Yoni and Savino, three granddaughters: Gabby, Marisa, and Daleysa and the newest addition, great-grandson: Daniel, Jr. Also surviving are three sisters, Maria Dolores “Lola” Hernandez de Cazares (Mexico), Eufemia (Martin) Oviedo (Mexico), Maria Weaver (Goshen, Indiana) and two brothers, Macario (Esther) Hernandez and Isidro Hernandez (Mexico). He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers, Martin, Pancho, Exiquio and his sister, Cuca.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, July 24, 2022 from 2:00 - 7:00 p.m. at Redpath-Fruth Funeral Home, 225 Argonne Road, Warsaw, Indiana with a Rosary Service to follow at 7:00 p.m. Nick's life will be celebrated with a funeral mass on Monday, July 25, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 225 Gilliam Drive, Warsaw, Indiana. He will be laid to rest in Milford Cemetery in Milford, Indiana.