Fernando “Vinny” Santiago, of Lancaster, PA, at 52 years of age, succumbed to a lifelong illness the morning of Saturday, April 18, 2020 at Select Specialty in York, PA, surrounded by his family and Pastor, John Jewers.
Born on May 22, 1967, in Rio Piedra, Puerto Rico, Fernando was the 2nd child of 7 to Hector Raphael Santiago and Leonides Saez Colon de Santiago, of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. At the tender age of 6, Fernando’s parents received the first throat cancer diagnosis at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. Since then, Fernando courageously fought through three reoccurrences of cancer until his death.
Throughout his youth, Fernando thrived and became the lead pitcher of the Spanish Center baseball team gaining the nickname “Lefty”. He advanced to join the Edward Hand Junior High wrestling and the football team as a tight end and quarterback winning the Championship that year. He later graduated from J.P. McCaskey High in 1986 to then earn an IT certificate at Harrisburg Area Community College. In adulthood he was employed as a labor worker finalizing his last 10 years of employment at Polymar Molding, in Leola, PA, to tend to the second reoccurrence of cancer.
Fernando was a faithful member of the Calvary Baptist Church for over 25 years and considered the members as a part of his extended family. The Calvary Baptist members provided a great support throughout his illness, not for him only but for his family, without fail.
Fernando had a great sense of humor with a handsome smile that lit up the room. He loved shopping at the Market Place down town, and strolled through Benz and Longs Park often to watch and at times photograph the beautiful birds. When at home, he loved to cook, sip his daily coffee and watch western movies. His favorite actor was Clint Eastwood. But his first and greatest love was spending time with God and His Word. This was evident by the writing, highlighting, and the worn condition of his bibles, in which are his greatest and most valuable assets left behind. His favorite chapter was Psalms 23 that reflected his remarkable faith in God perfectly. We’d often say during his journey and friendship with his best friend, Jesus, “Those two together like to show off”.
Fernando was survived by his parents, older brother, Hector R. Santiago, Jr. (Wife Kevia), younger brother, Alexander Santiago (Wife Sothorn); and four younger sisters – Yolanda Coleman (Husband John), Wanda MgGlaughlin (Husband Ben), Magdalena Ruiz (Husband David), and Banyi Santiago. He was also survived by his 27 nieces and nephews, and 7 great nieces and nephews. Fernando had a strong devoted bond with his family. He was a loving and encouraging “Uncle Vinny”, a giving and peaceful brother, and a kind and gracious son who adored his mother and honored his father with an abundance of grace and respect.
Fernando’s availability to serve others and his ability to remain strong and calm through troubled times was an inspirational testimony of his living. We are strong but he was stronger with much added precision and control. He was truly a wonder of resilience. He would protect his family as a soldier of the Lord with reminders such as when he would write nearing his last days, “The Lord is here.”
Our valiant brother, Fernando, will forever be remembered and sorely missed in the most profound manner known, and there is no existing diction that can describe the magnitude of our loss. He was an indescribable force of life.
So, to the people of the City of Lancaster, the staff at South East Clinic, Hershey Medical Center, and Select Specialty Hospital, your prayers and service to and for Fernando have been a balm to our anguish and an ointment to our wound. We cannot thank you enough, and our gratitude extends beyond the heavens. We will leave you with these words of Truth, to “Fight Like Fernando”, keep the “Faith Like Fernando”, live “Fearless like Fernando” who lived and now rests in Christ Jesus. We’re so proud of you, Vinny!
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8
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