Deborah Lynn Fernandez
September 4, 1959 – June 19, 2021
TITLE: Deb's Story...Abridged...A Lot!
Deborah Lynn Fernandez, age 61, departed this earthly realm on June 19, 2021 just before 9am. Her illness was short, but her life was one filled with joy, beauty and purpose. She brought heart and humor to every relationship and everything she did.
At the center of her life was spiritual practice and social justice. She had two amazing spiritual teachers in this life. Deb's family moved from Vermont to Massachusetts in 1975, when she was still 15, to be with their teacher Srimata Gayatri Devi (Mataji) at the Vedanta Center ashram in Cohasset, MA. Given the name Devika, Deb joined the community and lived there for nearly 10 years as a dedicated student of Mataji’s. She then went on to Boston College where she graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. In the mid-nineties, Deb returned to the ashram for several years during Mataji's final years.
Her professional and personal life was also deeply informed by her studies with Native American teacher, Ohki Forest who she began studying with in 2000. Through Ohki, Deb was given the privilege to serve on the Board of Red Wind Councils, a non-profit organization which works with the indigenous Maya people of Chiapas, Mexico. Its stated mission is to “foster spiritual consciousness & a restoration of social justice through awakening into the promised return of ancient indigenous Council ways.” Council Ways provided the framework for her belief in the deep, underlying brotherhood & sisterhood of the human race. The sacredness and centrality of food to the Maya, as evidenced in their own self-description as “the people of corn,” touched Deborah and inspired her to bring that awareness into her work as Chef and Owner of Home Star Cuisine, LLC.
Deborah created Home Star Cuisine in 2013 and for 8 years, lovingly prepared healthy individual meals for clients all over Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Prior to that, Deborah worked as a private chef for the Jesuit community at Boston College as well in dining services and several restaurants and was the chef/manager of a retreat house on Boston’s South Shore, planning, organizing, and executing all phases of food service for groups from 5 to 50, including for internationally known leaders in the field of religion and spirituality. She was a baker whose white chocolate chip & cranberry “crack” cookies are legendary. She made many wonderful friends as a chef and also supported other personal chefs through her activities with the United States Personal Chef Association. She earned the nickname "Snack Master Deb" because any activity or road trip with her was well stocked with your favorite snacks and drinks!
Deborah’s interests were many, including lifelong learning, books, cooking, nutrition, intuitive eating, tai chi, gardening, sailing, animals, singing and living in harmony with the earth. She loved to sew and knit and even helped make masks for friends, family and a service organization for people with cerebral palsy in New Jersey during the pandemic.
She met her husband, Michael, on eHarmony 17 years ago. They were married on September 23, 2006, in the beautiful backyard of Helene and Alan Korolenko. It was a magical ceremony in a circle where two sides of family and friends were joined together, with Michael and Deb in the center. They lived together in Providence, Rhode Island, and had the joy of each other and their cats Shambo and Parvati for many years. Beanie, the latest feline addition to the household, misses his mom a lot. Deb enjoyed traveling the world visiting Europe several times & studied abroad in Nijmegen, The Netherlands for a year. They will never forget their honeymoon in Nova Scotia and a wonderful trip to Southwestern England in 2017, where they stayed with their aunt Lyn and Uncle John and were shown the countryside by Michael's, mothers’ relatives. The hospitality, kindness and trip will never be forgotten.
Deb’s beautiful family includes her father, Robert Fernandez, her sister Mary Jo Fernandez, her brother Jonathan Ferris, his wife Melissa and their two boys, Henry and Oliver. She has many aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews in Vermont and New Hampshire. She touched the lives of Michael's family with love and laughter: Catherine Roussos, Kevin, Nathan and Nicole Aiken, as well as Stephanie Roussoss and Michael Salvatore. She shared a special bond with the Gilman family: Mukta (her best friend since she was a teen), Jeff, and her godchildren Alex and Tess. They were her second family and had a profound influence on each other and created so much joy together, which will last forever. Her other best friend, Purna, shared her love of learning and philosophical and spiritual interests and they had many deep and unique conversations in their decades-long friendship. Deb had a way of making and forging unique friendships and won over Michael's friends with her kindness, generosity and sense of humor. She will be missed by us all. Deb and Michael would like to gratefully acknowledge all the prayers and support she received from the people of Chiapas Mexico, the Ashrams in Cohasset and California, the Jesuit community, and all of her friends and family.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a generous donation to Red Wind Councils via PayPal by clicking on the Donate button on the website at www.redwindcouncils.org, through Venmo @RedWindCouncils (code 8109) or by sending a check to Red Wind Councils, PO Box 1064, Pepperell, MA 01463. Please note that your donation is for Deb. Deb is a great believer in social justice and a donation to this organization would be a fitting tribute for her.
Funeral and Burial Private
Deborah Lynn Fernandez
July 20, 2021
I knew Deb in a way very few people were able to know her. I cooked with her and as everybody knows that is a difficult thing when you have two determined individuals trying to do the same thing better than the other one. However we were able to form a bond of acceptance and friendship through our work. I am very sad to see her passing. We shared numerous times of fun, successes and disappointments and that made us stronger in our beliefs. We created a solid base of trust to a point that I was allowed to use her cutting board and her knife (that is the ultimate thing for a chef). She was allowed to use mine at all times, because she just the was the better cook. I miss her enthusiasm and candid approach to cook things better and easier.
I am just sad and honor her memory to the best of my ability
Gerry & Ayako Rooney
July 1, 2021
We only knew Deb through Mike who worked with me. Knowing him we were sure he picked a true prize. We were honored to be present at their beautifully unique wedding which gave us a glimpse of Deb's incredible background.
Mike, our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with you and her as we hope that the years of precious sharing will sustain you and your combined families.
With much love and fond memories.
Gerry & Ayako
June 27, 2021
My wife Ann and I, are lifelong friends of Michael, Deb's husband. We were so happy when Deb came into Mike's life and are grieved by her passing. While we did not know her well, we know Michael very well. Anyone who Mike could let into his heart like that had to be a warm, wonderful person indeed.
We extend our sincerest condolences to Mike and all their families and friends. May God rest her gentle soul.
Much love and respect,
Carl & Ann Nogueira
June 27, 2021
Deb cooked beautiful, delicious meals for my husband and I for several years and when she was in our home kept our pretty Kitty company in her final months... sharing in our grief as we both lost beloved pets within a few months of one another. We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of her passing. We offer our deepest condolences to Deb's family and friends, she will be greatly missed.
June 24, 2021
To Michael: I was so very sadden to hear of the passing of Deb. I am honored to say she was a friend of mine. We were in à zoom class together along with some other ladies we had developed a real special bond. (I called a sisterhood). Know that you had a jewel. But I'm sure you know that. She will be missed by many . Deb touched so many lives of people who came in contact with her. I am so glad to be one of those people. I want to thank her for helping my husband and myself with information of a support group dealing with his covid this past October. We are forever grateful. Michael thank you for sharing her with so many. We will continue to keep you in our prayers.
My friend RIP. Love and will miss you.
Loretta and Michael Campagna
June 22, 2021
Devika, one of the bright lights in my life. Devika was very kind to me from my first visit to the Vedanta Centre. Wise and loving beyond her youthful years, Devika had a quiet but most obvious depth of spirit. I always felt like an outsider, yet Devika drew me in with her amazingly softly strong aura while keeping her skills and talents quietly her own. Devika was genuine, real and authentic; a treasure to know and cherish. A new star shines in the heavens, continuing to shower love on all .