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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I am praying for you all at this very moment. He certainly was a treasure on earth.
A nombre de Lola y familia les expresamos nuestro más sentido pesame. Que el Señor les de mucha fortaleza y paz en sus corazones. Un abrazo fuerte para cada uno de ustedes. El mora en el Señor en un lugar dónde no hay sufrimiento ni tribulación. Sólo paz y el amor de Dios. Amén. QDP
Praying for God’s balm of comfort, grace and peace to cover Fernando’s family and friends.🙏🏼
What a beautiful tribute to a life well lived. I am sorry for your loss and send prayers for all who are missing him.
I had the privilege of meeting Fernando at Calvary Baptist Church. He was such a faithful servant there for so many years. His testimony of salvation and of reaching out to people will encourage me for the rest of my life! It is so fitting to use the 2 Timothy 4:6-8. I’ll miss him, but look forward to seeing him again!
I enjoyed Fernando’s warm greetings at church and our time studying the Bible together at Musser Park. I miss him now but also know that our seperation is only temporary. I’m so glad that his fight and suffering are over and that he is rejoicing now with Jesus.
Vinny was a special person and the Lord used him in ways we will never fully know until we get to be where he is. We mourn his loss with the family and celebrate Vinny’s passing in to glory with the Father. -The Centenos
Tú eres mi Ángel ,héroe , fe ,alegría, Amor, fortaleza, felicidad, esperanza . Te vamos a extrañar mucho, mucho, pero tengo la esperanza q vos nos volveremos aver allá en el cielo , donde tú te estás gozando con el Rey d Reyes, y Señor d Señores . Tú vives en nuestros corazones para siempre … tía Jeannette, Junior, Anibal …
No temas, porque yo estoy contigo; no desmayes, porque yo soy tu Dios que te esfuerzo; siempre te ayudaré, siempre te sustentaré con la diestra de mi justicia….
Bendiciones , besos, abrazos para mis sobrinas, sobrinos, Rafo y Leonides .. Los Amos a todos Amen …
My condolences to the family! My God I have never met Fernando, but through testimonies shared by Banyi he is truly a warrior.This angel has truly earned his wings! God bless you all!
Knowing Vinny was a privilege. Vinny was not afraid to be your friend, Vinny was a quiet person but not too shy to pore his life into those around him. When with friends and family he showed his love for his nephews and nieces, he took the time to treat them like they were special.. We love you brother and know we will be seeing you one day soon. God bless and give peace to the family.
Que Dios lo tenga en la gloria.Nuestras mas sentido pesame para toda la familia.R.I.P. De Raquel.Fruto .Thelma y Reesa.
My sincere condolences to all your family. The first time I met your brother was over 20 ago through Yolanda and in that day he made me laugh, he enjoyed life indeed. A very pleasant memory of Fernando! Hugs my friends and let’s remember those moments that will forever live in our hearts as we remember his life.
So very sorry for your loss. What a beautiful soul with soft kind eyes and a true lily faithful heart. Praying that you will all be reunited soon. Come quickly Lord Jesus. Blessings to each of you.