Remembering our “founding father,” Ramiro Fernandez, M.D.
Long before Providence St. Jude Medical Center was a reality, it was an idea — an idea that quickly became a mission and a purpose for several North Orange County physicians. The vision and dedication of one remarkable man stands out. Ramiro Fernandez, M.D., often referred to as the “founding father” of the hospital, led the charge in building, advocating and fundraising for the original St. Jude Hospital in the early 1950s.
By all accounts, Dr. Fernandez, who made nightly house calls after dinner, was loved by his patients. Deeply passionate about the new hospital project after Fullerton General Hospital closed its doors, he turned his medical practice over to a colleague for a year so he could focus all his efforts on fundraising.
“Dad was a humble man,” says daughter Dianne Krallman. “Some of my earliest memories were of his commitment to and involvement with St. Jude. He would be amazed that his name is still remembered today for doing something that came naturally to him.”
The hospital’s name was chosen because Dr. Fernandez and his wife, Emily, had a strong devotion to Saint Jude, recognized as the patron saint of difficult causes. The name also honored their eldest son, Raymond Jude, who passed away during the hospital’s construction.
After the hospital opened, Dr. Fernandez served as chief of staff. Less than six months after the new St. Jude opened its doors, he led another fundraising campaign to expand the hospital by adding a west wing to the original building. He worked long and hard to convert his dream into a reality that continues to serve the people of Orange County and its surrounding communities today.
A family’s commitment to a father’s dream
Dianne’s connection to Providence St. Jude Medical Center goes back to its very beginnings. She remembers standing alongside her father and their family at the hospital’s grand opening in 1957. Seeing her father’s legacy thrive at the hospital has been a source of profound gratitude and inspiration for Dianne and her siblings.
One of Dr. Fernandez’s seven children, who are all proud of their beloved father, Dianne is a steadfast supporter of Providence St. Jude Medical Center. A Guild Volunteer since 2001, she served as co-president and logged many hours working in the hospital’s gift shop. In addition, she has been a generous supporter of our Community Health programs since 2005, reflecting her deep commitment to her father’s vision and further solidifying her dedication to the hospital’s mission.
“Our father had clear priorities in his life, and they were to his God, his family and his profession as a healer,” says Dianne and her siblings. “We appreciate our father being remembered for all he did for his community.”
Through the unwavering support of his daughter and the entire Fernandez family, the spirit of compassion and healing thrives within the walls of Providence St. Jude Medical Center. It is a testament to the profound impact that one person can have on their community, leaving behind a legacy of love, dedication and service.
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