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A personal note: The passing of Superdad …

My dad has always seemed like Superman to me and somehow, I thought he’d live forever.

But he passed away at home last Wednesday – nine days before his 92nd birthday.

I’ve continued to blog some as we deal with the many things you deal with between a death and funeral service which is next week. I’ll be delivering the eulogy on behalf of my five siblings and it will be the honor of my life.

It’s heartbreaking but bearable because I had many, many, many years with my dad and spent so much time with him over the decades. I’ll cherish the quality time forever and the memories are already bringing comfort.

He read literally every newspaper and magazine article I ever wrote whether I was covering a murder trial or the Academy Awards and would love talking about it after. I loved telling dad what went on behind the scenes in getting various stories because he would be so engaged.

We saw every Marvel movie in the theaters until right before the pandemic – all the Avengers, all the Spiderman movies etc. Dad had a comic book collection as a kid and knew all the orgin stories etc. He liked watching tennis matches with me on TV and we watched just about every Wimbledon, French Open and US Open final together on television for about 30 years and more westerns and episodes of shows like NCIS, The Rockford Files and Law & Order than I could count. We once dedicated an entire weekend to binge-watching a season of Dexter – the one with John Lithgow. We also liked watching cheesy infomercials together about all these silly gadgets that we doubted really worked.

Often I’d put I Love Lucy episodes on and dad would laugh each and every time me or any of my siblings would say a line right before Lucy, Ethel, Fred, or Ricky did because we knew them so well.

Our dad was was steadfast, reliable and devoted his life to making the lives of his children easier in anyway he could while also instilling a hard work ethic that many of us inherited. We could count on him decade after decade after decade after decade. He could fix anything and if he couldn’t, he’d figure out how or knew someone who could. I went though an IKEA phase in the mid-90s and for so many weekends dad would come to my Long Beach apartment, open up the instructions and calmly get to work.

He loved classic cars and knew everything about all of them. On the day he died, I looked at his bookshelf and realized he had kept every coffee table book on classic cars I ever gave him – 16 in all. I knew they made him happy. We attended several classic cars shows over the years in OC and LA and he was certainly in his happy place.

Dad was a wonderful cook and made the best menudo I will ever have in my life. He was like a surgeon with the tripe in preparing menudo for New Year’s Day. He could cook so many other Mexican dishes and would do special requests anytime you asked him to. On my 40th birthday, dad made a huge platter of Mexican Hot Dogs (think taquito but filled with a sliced hot dog and cheddar cheese) for more than 40 guests. He made them for us on special occasions and they were a huge hit with my friends. He also served as bartender that night making margaritas for us and, as usual, mixed so beautifully and easily with my college roomies, high school pals, and newsroom friends.

Best of all, dad would listen. You knew you were being heard. He processed and accepted whatever I threw his way and was always there – always.

These are just my memories. Each of my siblings had their own unique relationship with our dad, many memories and interests they shared. We probably all think we’re the favorite – I’m just the only one with a blog!

R.I.P. Ray Hernandez 1930-2022

(Bottom photo is dad on his 75th birthday. He rode my old bicycle around well into his 80s)


(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

23 Remarks

  1. Hi Greg. I am so sorry to hear about your father. I lost my mother one and a half years ago (she was 97), and while she lived a good life, and at the end she’d been hospitalized for months and hadn’t woken up in weeks, I still find myself wishing I could call her up like normal and chat about whatever.

    I love that your father was so into comic books (especially Marvel). I have three book cases filled with trade paperback collections of my favorite series.

    I wish you peace and a life filled with all the wonderful memories he gave you.

  2. Thank you SO much Tommy!

  3. I’m so sorry to hear about your dad, Greg. What you wrote is a beautiful tribute to him. I’m sure he knew how much you loved him.

  4. So sorry for the loss of your beloved father. Take care.

  5. It’s gratifying you can speak so highly of your father.
    So many of us can’t do that whatsoever.
    Great remembrance.

  6. A loving and kind tribute – here’s to your father – strength to your family and when it gets really hard – take time to take a deep breath.

  7. Greg, I’m so sorry to hear of your father’s passing. I was however moved to read how he participated in your career. How proud he must have been of you, and your professional success. With my sincere condolences,

    Jimmy Short

  8. Someone once said, “The greater the love, the greater the loss.” Thank you for helping us learn more about your father and his life…and thank you for providing so much continued information, insight and entertainment from this website. May all who knew your father be surrounded by protection and comfort. Best wishes to all who read this.

  9. Sorry to hear this news. No matter how long you have with someone you care about it’s never long enough.

  10. Greg, you have my deepest sympathies on the passing of your Dad. I was so happy to read about the wonderful relationship you had with your Dad, which is truly a gift that not everyone gets. Your Dad was one-of-a-kind! As long as you carry his memory in your heart, your Dad will always be with you. Pass his kindness and generosity of spirit along. Stay strong.

  11. My deepest condolences to you and your family during this difficult transition.

  12. December 6th, 2022 at 8:19 am

    GREG: I am so glad your father passed so we can all hear about him and celebrate him as the gifted, caring, kind, compassionate and loving man and father he is so consistently. I always wondered where you got it, and now I have affirmed that you are your father’s legacy as a true gentleman. You reiterate the many times he made active, aware, determined, loving choices to be a good father, friend, and gentleman. As you tell your stories you take the time to remind us all what a real man can be and what impact those choices have–on your life, on the lives of those around him, and-now-on us.
    Truly what a remarkable, valuable gift you provide us not just for Christmas but for the entire year. I celebrate you both! May he rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon him. Remember he is a whisper away.

  13. “Best of all, he would listen. You knew you were being heard. He processed and accepted whatever I threw his way and was always there – always.”

    This is what we all wish for in a father.

    Ray, thank you for making your time on earth count. Rest in peace.

  14. So sorry for your loss Greg.

  15. So very sorry for your loss. The loss of a parent is so tough and then when you look up to him like that it makes it tougher. Hoping good memories help you in this time

  16. December 6th, 2022 at 5:03 pm
    Michael Spencer says:

    What a remarkable tribute to your father, Greg! Having read your blog for many years now, it seems to me that his love and support made you the kind and consciences writer that you are. 91 years seems like a long and well-lived life. We should all be so fortunate. Thinking good thoughts for you and your family!

  17. Sounds like a life well-lived, Greg!
    But as a son of an 82 year old Mom, I am conscious of the remaining time I have left with her. And whenever she passes, I will be beyond sad. I’m sorry for your loss, and happy for all the good times you had with your father.
    Best to you,

  18. December 7th, 2022 at 5:18 pm
    Kim Carpenter says:

    Hello Greg. You talked about your dad so beautifully! I’m so glad me and Tyler had a chance to meet him that one summer. He lived such a long, fulfilling life one could only hope. Your beautiful memories of him will hopefully ease the loss you’re experiencing. Tyler and I love you!!!

  19. Thank you Kim!!!! Love you guys too!!!

  20. I’m so sorry to hear about your father, Greg. It sounds like you had a great relationship. My condolences to you and your family.

  21. Greg, Your father will always be with you in memory and in your heart!
    God bless You as you go thru this life’s journey, knowingly that you can always look back and see your father’s presence and his good deeds that now are yours to follow.

  22. Sorry for your loss, Mr. Hernandez.

  23. December 9th, 2022 at 6:12 am
    Mary Anne Perez says:

    Greg, these are such beautiful memories! Thank you for sharing them with us. He sounds like an amazing dad, the kind that really listens and is there when you need him. How lucky to have had him for as long as you did. I’m so sorry for your loss and I hope that your memories of his life and love help you through this time.

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