The family of Ralph Joseph Fernandez sadly announces his passing on Saturday, April 24, 2021, after a short illness. He was a member of the Collegedale University Church and also attended Collegedale Community Church.
Ralph was born in Barstow, Ca., on May 16, 1952. His family lived in Southern California and New Mexico in his younger years. He graduated from Redlands High School in Redlands, California in 1970. Ralph continued his education at San Bernardino Valley College and obtained an Associates degree in Art. A short time later, he joined his brother in Tennessee to further his education, where he completed a Bachelor of Art degree from Southern Adventist University in 1975. Ralph obtained a master's degree in education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Ralph was employed by Hamilton County Schools for 32 years as a teacher, computer coordinator, assistant principal, and principal. He thoroughly enjoyed the education process and interacting with students, staff, and parents.
Ralph was an avid car enthusiast. His interests focused on classic cars, hot rods, sport cars, and Indy cars. He routinely participated in many car shows in the area including Cambridge Square Classic Car Show, Southern Adventist Car Show, Fall Festival Car Show, Firecracker Rod Run, Street Toys Car Club, O’Reilly Auto Parts Southern Tour, Harrison Ruritan Club Open Car Show, and many others. Ralph was an active member of the BMW Chattanooga Bimmers Car Club. He participated in the Mario Andretti Indy Driving School at Nashville Speedway, Chip Barber Driving School at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, and many trips were taken to Road Atlanta and Barrett Jackson Auctions.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ruben Fernandez, Sr. and Hormida Fernandez; niece, Nanette Mancinas.
He is survived by his loving wife, Gail (Westbrook) Fernandez; children, Stacy (Ray) Ivey, Zach (Candice Wrinkle) Fernandez; grandchildren, Evan Ivey, Reed Ivey, Colton Ivey, Aden Fernandez, Mila Fernandez; brother, Dr. Ruben (Melinda) Fernandez, Derick (Barbara) Fernandez; and sister, Esther (Henry Jr.) Mancinas.
A celebration of life service will be held at 2 p.m. on Monday, May 3, in the funeral home chapel. Burial will follow at Hamilton Memorial Gardens.
Please visit www.heritagechattanooga.com to share words of comfort to the family.
The family will receive friends on Sunday, May 2, from 2-4 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Home, 7454 E. Brainerd Road.