Juan Francisco Hernandez, 88 August 21, 1932 – November 24, 2020 Juan Hernandez, better known to his family as Papa Chico, passed away on Tuesday - November 24, 2020. He passed unexpectedly within his home in Lynn, Massachusetts with his daughter, Etelvina Rodriguez and son-in-law, Milton Rodriguez by his side. Papa Chico was born in August of 1932 to Antonia Hernandez and raised by his grandmother, Vicenta Trejo. He was born and raised in San Miguel, El Salvador, but raised his children in a small town named Ilopango near the country’s capital. Papa Chico, since a very young man, always devoted himself to his family and was a strong patriarch.
He married the love of his life, Apolinaria Iglesias, and together created a family of 8 children. Their marriage was one of 45 years that was spent raising, and loving their children and grandchildren unconditionally. As a young man he worked as a fisherman and enjoyed what he did; so much that all his grandchildren can recite one of his stories from his once adventurous fisherman days. His children and grandchildren’s favorite stories were his tall tales. Those tall tales of once wrestling with sharks and crocodiles which brought him glory, fame and riches. Papa Chico expressed his goofy, loving, and creative personality in these stories with all his young grandchildren.
In 1985 Papa Chico immigrated to the United States at the height of his country’s brutal civil war. His only goal was to provide a future for his children and grandchildren here in this land of opportunity. He work very hard for many years to come, and finally retired to spend the remainder of this life surrounded by family and friends.
His favorite pass time was listening to his favorite music, Rancheras, while parlaying on the hammock in the backyard or helping his son-in-law with yard work when it was that time of the season. He loved attending all of the family functions and staying relevant in all of his loved ones’ lives to the best of his ability. He was fortunate to attend several of his grandchildren’s graduations, weddings, baby showers and other important milestones. Papa Chico also enjoyed traveling and experienced numerous vacations with his loved ones. For example, family camping trips or road trips to places like Florida and Canada were his favorite.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Apolinaria Hernandez; children Jose Armando and Consuelo Hernandez; and sisters Celcia and Sofia Hernandez. Juan Hernandez, better known as Papa Chico, is survived by his loving children, Maria, Francisco Antonio, Carlos, Dora, Jose Vidal and Etelvina; son-in-law, Milton; 17 Grandchildren; 22 Great Grandchildren; 3 Great- Great Grandchildren; and beloved extended family.
A man who was and will forever be deeply adored by all of his loved ones. He was a proud and honorable man who always took care of his family, and did the best he could to teach and guide them through life’s adversities. Papa Chico was a loving husband, father, son, brother, grandfather and great-grandfather to many. He will be truly missed by all who have had the pleasure of meeting such a beautiful, one-of-a-kind soul.
His legacy has already begun to show the fruits of his labor, with much more to come. Papa Chico’s family now includes medical professionals, engineers, military veterans, future lawyers, and above all individuals whom embody the title of “Tough as Nails.” To have lived in the presence of Juan was a privilege, and the world is a better place for it. Papa Chico’s life will be remembered as one of love, strength, devotion, and loyalty. May your hammock always be swaying in the wind and a cold drink be in your hand. You’ll live eternally in our hearts and in our memories.
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