May 1, 1934 – November 16, 2020
Juan Hernández was born on May 1, 1934 in Dallas, TX, and after a full life, he passed away on November 16, 2020. Born in the middle of The Great Depression, he was destined to be a fighter for change and justice as a first-generation Chicano. He was preceded by his parents, Don Pedro Hernández and Doña Socorro Navarro-Hernández.
Raised in the barrio of Little Mexico, his father opened a business years before in 1918, Hernández Finer Foods, and has been continuously open for over 100 years. As a humble businessman, Don Pedro, raised his family to be humble by building his home adjacent to their grocery store in Downtown Dallas. Countless stories were told about his adventures at Reverchon Park, Crozier Tech High School, and his entire barrio.
Juan decided to serve his country as a soldier in the U.S. Army where he was stationed in Germany among other places during the Cold War when tensions were high. After serving, he enrolled at the University of Texas in Austin and then transferred to finish his studies in Business Administration from North Texas State University (now UNT) and became a first-generation college graduate. After some time, Juan decided to work with his father in the family business where he would take the helm of their very successful family grocery store. He had wonderful customers with families coming from all over the Metroplex to buy Mexican products and foods such as spices, menudo, barbacoa, tripitas, carnitas, meat cuts, and other deli products.
During this time of the late 60’s and early 70’s, he was involved in the Chicano Movement, The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, local politics, and the sponsorship of many youth and adult sports teams of Dallas. Juan also met his soon to be wife, Hermila, during this period. In the later seventies, he became involved in politics at a national level while working with the Jimmy Carter campaign. Juan and Hermila were married on the 4th of July, in 1971 in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico, and were married for 49 years until his death. Shortly thereafter, they had four children: Juliana, Juan Jacinto, Macario Fidel, and Ernesto Jaime. Ernesto Jaime died shortly after his birth on February 10th, 1978. This devastated Juan and Hermila. Juan decided to pass the reins of the store to his sister, Socorro, so he could dedicate more time to taking care of his mourning Hermila. He sacrificed his family’s business and began a new business, Hernández Finer Foods, which would require less hours and giving him the gift of time to give attention to his wife and children. His new venture involved the wholesale of beef tripe for menudo and Mexican spices to stores and restaurants. This new business was not nearly as successful as his family’s store, but with his savings he purchased a humble home in Oak Cliff on a lot of two acres and have lived there ever since. When his children were old enough, he invested his earnings into all of them receiving a Catholic education at St. Cecilia School. He became incredibly involved in both his children’s education and the Catholic Church. He was an assistant coach for many years at the school and attended Mass daily while assisting as a sacristan at every morning Mass. During the late 80’s and early 90’s, his sons and him worked every Saturday Vigil Mass at 5pm as altar boys and as a sacristan. For many years, he would also give Father Santos, a recurring visiting priest, a ride back to his home parish in downtown Dallas after each weekday Mass. He gave rides to many students and families to games, events, and school in his very famous orange van, the Merry Miler. He bought that van to ensure they would have countless fishing, camping, and everything in between adventures. Many friends and family partook in these unforgettable excursions. He knew experience was the best teacher. Juan was very involved in his children’s education and made every effort to make sure they had what they needed to be successful in whatever came their way. As his children grew older, they began and attended school at Bishop Dunne Catholic High School for several years. During this time, Juan lost nearly all of his money when a corporation he had stock with went bankrupt. He made the decision to allow his oldest to finish at Bishop Dunne, but a tougher decision to pull and send his sons to public high school, Sunset. These were incredibly difficult years as his wife suffered continuously with manic and bipolar depression. He did not give up. He kept pushing all of his children to be successful and not to accept financial assistance from anyone. He was going to do this with his family. Eventually, all of his children completed college and earned advanced degrees in education. His two sons currently hold doctoral degrees in education. Juan was doing his own education by getting involved in several organizations such as the Marriage Encounter, which helped couples become closer to each other and God, and Dallas Area Interfaith, a community organizing group that worked on local social justice issues such as after school programs, voting, and civil rights concerns. He was also an educator as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher for adults and gave citizenship classes to future Americans.
Juan recently gave up his wholesale business just a few years ago and he was still making deliveries well into his eighties. It wasn’t until physical complications came into play that made him limit his work and driving. He had a passion for fishing, politics, history, the Dallas Mavericks, the Texas Rangers, and the Dallas Cowboys. All of these were eclipsed by his love of fine spirits. He enjoyed many types of beverages from Pearl Light to Pilsner Urquell or IPA, and of course his Jack and Coke.
Juan instilled humility and pride with his family and those he met. He was a selfless man who put his family first but always there for others. Although, he rarely uttered the words, “I love you” to his family, he showed it in all of his actions, which were much more powerful than words.
Juan Hernández was preceded in death by his parents, Pedro Hernández and Socorro Navarro Hernández, as well as his brother’s Pedro Hernández and Michael Hernández. He is also preceded in death by his son, Ernesto Jaime Hernández. He is survived by his sisters Felicitas Alaníz Hernández and Socorro Hernández Garcia. He is also survived by his wife, Hermila Martínez Hernández and his children, Juliana Hernández Anthony and her three boys, George, Julian, and Tomás, Juan Jacinto Hernández and his two daughters, Marivette and Alessandra, and Macario Fidel Hernández and his two children, Isabel Tlalli and Macario Cuahtemoc.
In accordance with local, state, and federal government, including CDC directives, we ask everyone attending funeral services to wear a mask and practice social distancing. There will be limited seating for services. For everyone’s safety please honor the family from a distance. We kindly thank you in advance.
To express condolences to the family, you may send flowers by contacting Lilium Floral Design (214) 509-6645. For another expression of sympathy, please sign the guestbook online at gonzalezfuneralhome.com
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
December 3, 2020
Juan Hernandez was a great man, honest, sincere and respected by the Dallas community. He will be missed by his wife, family members and all close friends.
Viva Juan Hernandez, El Mero, Mero.
Trini Garza & Garza Family
November 22, 2020
My sincere condolences to Hermila, Juliana, xinto and MAC
Primo Juan is now resting. What an example of a kind, loving and intelligent man. I know he will be missed but his children will carry on to live the life that Juan wanted them to have.
Rest In Peace primo and padrino.
November 22, 2020
My condolences to the Hernandez family at this time of great sorrow. I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr Juan Hernandez but I had the next best thing in my life. I've had the privilege of knowing his son Xinto who through his kindness came to me at my time of great need. There is a saying that to know the son is to know the father. I now come to the Hernandez family to offer my prayers. God has Blessed Mr Juan Hernandez and his family. Rest in Peace. Your friend Armando I Pena, Sr.
November 21, 2020
Mi Tía, Mac, Chinto and Juliana. The obituary y’all prepared could not have been a better testimony to the incredible man, loving Father and Husband Mi Tio Juan was. Although we will miss him dearly, heaven has received a great Angel to watch over all of us. His memory and love will continue to live through each of you and your beautiful children as you continue to raise them with the same love Mi Tio gave y’all. On many occasions he would share how proud he was of his family!
May your hearts find peace in knowing that Tio Juan is living the gift of his eternal life in Heaven.
We love you all and God bless you all!
Renato de los Santos
November 20, 2020
I only met Mr. Hernandez a few times but I remember that he was really excited to meet and have a photo taken with Congressman Luis Gutierrez along with his son, Dr. Mac Hernandez