Herbert Sanz of Temecula, CA, died peacefully, closing his eyes for the final time in his home, on November 9, 2019, at the age of 96. After a hospital stay in June of this year, he spent his remaining days at home on hospice with considerate and loving care provided by his family, a team of hospice nurses, and other senior-assist workers. He struggled with his incapacitation at this last phase of his life but kept fighting until the end and still managed stories, jokes, smiles. and ‘thank you’s for his helpers.
Herbert was born in Cayo Mambí, Holguín, Cuba on March 16, 1923 to Antonio Fernandes, a Galician fisherman, and Amelia Sanz. He lost his mother to complications due to childbirth at 5 years old and subsequently lost his father and was orphaned at the age of 12. He had several brothers and sisters in Cuba a few of which he was able to see later in life. He missed seeing most of his siblings due to the political obstacles regarding travel to Cuba.
He had several manual labor jobs in Cuba before embarking on a career as a merchant marine that brought him to the USA when he was 20 years old. He married Hilda Flores January 1954. He served as a merchant marine for over 25 years rising to rank of chief pumpman, and then semi-retired to begin a career of land-based jobs when the family moved from Port Arthur, Texas to Los Angeles in 1968. He worked long hours at many factory jobs before landing a final job as a maintenance supervisor with the school district from which he retired in 1989. Herbert and Hilda moved from Hawthorne to their new Temecula home where they retired together until her death in December 1994. Herbert subsequently married Nelly Lopez in December of 1999 in Temecula where they lived until his death.
Both Hilda and Nelly were originally from Costa Rica and he prompted them to become US citizens shortly after coming to the USA. They both helped this rough chunk of orphaned Cuban coal smooth some of his rough edges, shaping him into a gentler and more refined gentleman.
He had great strength both mentally and physically coupled with a welcoming smile and a good sense of humor. He was a dedicated worker with the strong work ethic typical of his heritage. He rebuilt motors and took on many tasks with a lot of energy. He took a break after the tasks were over and typically not before. He taught himself to read and write English after emigrating and was skilled at many mechanical tasks. He quit smoking one day in the 50’s upon hearing the surgeon’s warning against smoking. Although never a heavy drinker, he quit drinking in 1984 in homage to the death of his son Michael. During his life he loved to fish and even learned to play golf. His favorite sport was baseball as is common in his native Cuba. His hobbies in retirement included gardening, cooking, fishing, and watching sports, mostly his grandchildren’s, or baseball on TV. He traveled for most of his life as a merchant marine and continued to travel upon retirement later in life to see friends and relatives especially to Costa Rica and a few times to his native Cuba, which he found ruined by the communists.
Herbert is survived by his five children, his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He is predeceased by Hilda and his youngest son Michael, along with all his siblings. He cherished his role as father and grandfather and always provided unlimited support to his family with all his abilities. He was a provider, protector, a faithful husband, and loving friend.
The public is welcome to a celebration of life at Murrieta Valley Funeral Home November 20 from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. Flowers and condolences are welcome.