Carole Ann O’Brien Hernandez, age 86, passed away peacefully on August 20, 2022 due to a long battle from complications from asthma. Family members were at her side. She was preceded in death by her parents Jack and Alberta O’Brien, and her sister Patricia O’Brien Popov and her spouse, Robert Popov. Carole is survived by her husband, Dr. Jose A. Hernandez, Professor Emeritus of California State University, Northridge and former Councilman and Mayor of San Fernando, California; her brother Dan O’Brien and his spouse Laura O’Brien of Tarzana, California; her daughters Dr. Moira Casillas and her husband David Casillas of Northridge, California, and Dr. Annie Hernandez and her husband Tim Petlin of Los Angeles, California; and grandchildren Jonathan and Isabella Casillas and Audrey Petlin.
Carole was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on August 1, 1936. She had a deep devotion to her Catholic faith strengthened by her years of Catholic education. Upon graduating from Our Lady of Mercy High School, she enrolled at Edge Cliff College (now Our Lady of Cincinnati) where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art. Her favorite media were painting and sculpture. Carole also had an equally strong appreciation for classical music and opera. She enjoyed reading and astronomy, often “gazing at the midnight sky” as she would put it. As a child, she predicted to her teachers and classmates that one day humankind would eventually land on the moon. In addition, Carole had a working knowledge of Latin and Spanish. A gifted elementary school teacher, she taught at Our Lady of Lourdes School in Cincinnati upon graduating from college. She was working on her Master of Arts degree in the early childhood education focusing on the Montessori Method at Xavier University when her graduate studies were interrupted by her marriage to Jose A. Hernandez, at that time, an instructor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. They were married on June 10, 1966.
In 1970, Carole moved to California with her baby girl of 4 months, Moira, to join her husband who had been hired at San Fernando Valley State College (now California State University, Northridge). They lived shortly in Northridge, California. While on a tour of the San Fernando Valley, Carole fell in love with the city of San Fernando. In 1971 she convinced her husband to settle in the city. She loved San Fernando for its charm and history and felt it was a wonderful place to raise her family which now included their daughter, Annie.
Carole was a dedicated parishioner of St Ferdinand’s Catholic Church and chose to send her two daughters to school there. She volunteered at the elementary school over the years in a number of different capacities. She was committed to social justice, supporting issues she held dearly in whatever ways possible and worked to instill those same values in her children. Carole was also a strong supporter of the San Fernando Public Library and was one of the inaugural members of the Friends of the San Fernando Library. Carole was honored along with four other local women for outstanding community service by the San Fernando City Council and other officials to commemorate Women’s History Month.
Always devoted to animals, Carole spent many years helping to rescue and care for stray dogs and cats. She loved all creatures great and small.
Carole was kind, warm and caring. We love her dearly. She will be missed by her friends and loving family, especially by her husband of 56 years.
Rosary and visitation will take place Wednesday, August 31 from 4-7 PM, with the rosary starting at 5 p.m., at St. Ferdinand Catholic Church. The funeral mass will be celebrated Thursday, September 1 at 10AM at St Ferdinand Catholic Church followed by burial services at San Fernando Mission Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Best Friends Animal Society in Mission Hills, California or to Catholic Relief Services.