Javier "Jay" Fernandez

March 25, 1922May 3, 2018

COLUMBIA - A Celebration of Life Service for Dr. Javier (Jay) Fernandez, will be held 1:00pm Monday May 7, 2018 at Trenholm Road United Methodist Church with the Reverend Bill Bouknight officiating. Following the service a reception will be held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Shuler at 4848 Portobello Road, Columbia, SC.

Jay was born March 22, 1922 in Havana, Cuba. He received his medical degree in pediatric medicine from the University of Havana. The revolution of 1958 brought Fidel Castro to power on January 1, 1959. Jay was a fierce opponent of the Castro regime. Because of his medical skills he was ordered by the government to the mountainous region of the Oriente Province to administer to the needs of the people there. Because he had a daughter living in the United States he was able to be with his wife and son on the last Freedom Flight to leave the island.

Upon arriving in Miami in 1961 he made his way with the help of friends and other Cuban refugees to New York City. Again, with the help and encouragement of members of the Cuban diaspora he went to West Virginia to practice medicine and obtain a second medical degree, this time in psychiatry. A few years later the family moved to Williamsburg, Virginia where he practiced psychiatry.

The family came to Columbia in the mid 1970’s where Jay worked as a psychiatrist, first at Crafts-Farrow State Hospital and later at Morris Village.

Jay and his first wife divorced in the early 1980’s. It was then that he met a co-worker, Alice Jonas, who would become his wife, friend and mother of their two children, Wyeth and Bryce.

Jay came to America almost penniless and speaking very little English. He mastered English with the same determination that defined his entire life and on occasions served as an interpreter for Hispanic immigrants. In addition to his family and career he had a passion for painting. His medium of choice was watercolor. He loved chocolate, all sports, played golf, and was enthusiastically supportive of his adoptive Carolina Gamecocks. He was a member of the New Life Sunday School Class at TRUMC where he never missed a Sunday until his final; year. The warmth and input he brought to the class was immeasurable. Jay was loved and respected by all.

Jay is survived by his wife Alice Jonas, sons, Wyeth and Bryce. From his first marriage he is survived by a daughter, Aida Thomas of Virginia, son Jay Edwards of South Carolina, four grandchildren and brother, David Fernandez of Atlanta and their families.


  • Celebration of Life Monday, May 7, 2018
  • Reception Monday, May 7, 2018

Javier "Jay" Fernandez

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John Morris

May 7, 2018

My deepest condolences to Alice and the family. I had the pleasure of working with Jay at Morris Village, and he was a delightful, charming and deeply caring man. His work as a psychiatrist touched the lives of many, and he was beloved among his peers. May he rest in peace.

Fletcher Spigner III

May 4, 2018

Just a wonderful story. We are so sorry.

Tha Spigner Family
Fletcher Spigner III
Columbia, SC