NEW BEDFORD: Rosaria "Rose" Fernandes, 104, passed away peacefully in her sleep on November 19, 2020 at the Oaks Nursing Facility. She was married for 62 years to the late Armand Fernandes Sr.
She was born in Santo Antonio, Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal, daughter of the late Manuel F. Leca and Candida (Rodrigues) Leca and step-daughter of Paulina (Goncalves) Leca.
As a young woman, she disembarked from the SS Washington onto Ellis Island, New York on February 13, 1935. She often recounted to her grandchildren her ocean voyage and how the sight of the Statue of Liberty brought tears to her eyes. One day after arriving in New Bedford on February 14, 1935 she began work in the Textile Industry.
Her life spanned oceans, generations, and a century in the old world and the new world. She savored and taught us the best of both. Diminutive in size, she was the giant in so many ways. Her inner strength, grit, determination, sacrifice, love and duty to family was experienced by all and exemplified by her lifelong devotion to her late son James (Jimmy) Fernandes challenged with spina bifida. Told at his birth "not to spend any money on this kid, he isn't going to live a week or a month", her care and devotion gave him 74 years of a happy and meaningful life. Yet she always had time for the rest of us - to help, to counsel and to comfort. We will miss her abounding love, wonderful traditional cooking, embroidery, political opinions, joking, and infectious laugh. If death is defeated by never forgetting, we have memories about her life that will live forever and ever.
She is survived by her son, the Honorable Armand Fernandes, Jr. (Ret.) and his wife Patricia , her grandchildren: Elise Rego (Jerry, Laurie Bourgeois, Andrea Lawson (Matthew) of New Jersey, Mark A. Fernandes (Casey) of Natick, MA; great-grandchildren; Quinn, Nina and Colin Bourgeois, Abby and Brendan Rego, Nicholas and Benjamin Fernandes; Julia and Meryl Lawson; her great-great-grandchildren, Brayden Da Cunha and William Simpson V.
She was predeceased by her sisters, Palmira Faille (Chicago, Il), Philamena Ruda (Orange City, FL), Maria Gouveia (San Jose, CA) and her brother Agostinho Leca of New Bedford.
The family thanks the Oaks Nursing facility for its compassionate care. Funeral arrangements due to COVID-19 restrictions shall be private for immediate family only. A memorial celebration will be planned at a later date when family and friends may gather safely.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA 02740, Prince Henry Scholarship Foundation, P.O Box 6726, New Bedford, MA 02742 or the Shriner's Hospital for Children, 516 Carew Street, Springfield, MA 01104.
Arrangements are by the Cabral Baylies Square-Lamoureux Funeral Home, 512 No. Front Street, New Bedford, MA. Memorial register visit; www.cabralbaylies.com.
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