Florita J. Hernandez
03/22/1935 - 05/03/2024

Florita Josefina Hernandez, 89 of Chatham, New Jersey died peacefully on May 3, 2024 after a brief illness.  She was born on March 22,1935 in Santa Clara, Cuba to her parents, Maria de las Mercedes (Machado) Gonzalez and Benigno Gonzalez.  She is predeceased by her brother Benigno Jose Gonzalez and her beloved husband of 59 years, Julio Santiago Hernandez.

Born and raised in Cuba, Florita and Santiago moved their family to the United States in 1967, once seeing no future for the family in Cuba after the Revolution. She was 32 at the time.  The better part of her adult years was lived in Tarrytown, New York where she raised her three children, who were her greatest joy.  She worked for the Hilton Corporation as the first female Controller and was well respected by the hotel management and her fellow co-workers.   During her tenure at the Tarrytown Hilton, she mentored many subordinates who went on to take leadership roles in the corporate world.  When asked why she never wanted to join the corporate ranks, she always mentioned that she was a wife, daughter and mother first.   She took care of both her aging parents in addition to working a fulltime schedule and making sure that her children pursued higher education and careers of their own.   In addition to running a household and working a fulltime job, Florita obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York.

Florita loved animals and often spoke of her childhood days on her father’s ranch in Cuba.  She loved riding horses with her brother and watching the farm workers tend to the dairy cows and calves.  She raised two dogs, her beloved Poochy and Tiger and in her older years, spent time with her grand-dogs Duffy and Tucker.

Florita retired to Surfside, Fl in 1996 where she lived until 2014.  She and Santiago enjoyed many years traveling the world and dining with their fellow retired couples.  She had a passion for gardening and the tropical climate in Florida was ideal for her orchids and the lush vegetation in her backyard.  She had a green thumb and loved tending to her houseplants.

Due to her husband’s illness, Florita moved to Virginia Beach, VA in 2014 to be closer to family.  She was a parishioner of Saint Gregory the Great.  While retired in Virginia, she took on the long-loved hobby of knitting.  She knit each of her seven grandchildren a customized college blanket and loved making baby hats.  She was otherwise known as The Knitting Nana.  She became quite entrepreneurial in her endeavors and even had her items sold at Quartet, a boutique that her daughter co-owns in Chatham, NJ.

In 2020, she moved to Chatham NJ to be closer to her daughter and family.  During her years in New Jersey she had many loving companions and shared times with her family on the Jersey shore.    She also enjoyed visiting her extended family and friends in Tarrytown.

Florita was a quiet introspective person, a good listener, and a lover of peace and solitude.  Paradise to her was visiting gardens and nurseries, enjoying quiet days playing board games, making puzzles with her family, or working on her sticker by number books for hours.   She excelled at math and impressed her grandchildren with her mental math skills while playing dominoes and other board games. She earned the nickname of Queen of Parcheesi.  She also enjoyed shopping and frequent visits to Quartet.

She is survived by her sister, Josefina Gonzalez Machado, her son Santiago Jose Hernandez and spouse Elizabeth Wheeler, her daughter Victoria Anello and spouse Paul, and her daughter Pilar Seyrlehner and spouse Heinz.  Additionally, she leaves seven adoring grandchildren, Zoe Wrenn Hernandez, Julia Pilar Anello, Katherine Mary Hernandez, Emily Ann Hernandez, Frank Santiago Anello and Andrea Victoria Seyrlehner and Anna Maria Seyrlehner.  She also leaves behind many nieces and nephews whom she mentored and with whom she often shared her notable words of wisdom.

She will be missed dearly.  We take comfort in knowing that she has been reunited with the love of her life, Santiago and her many family members and friends, enjoying the glories of her Heavenly eternal life.

Visitation will be at The Bradley Funeral Home, 345 Main Street, Chatham, NJ on May 15 from 4pm – 8 pm.  There will be a Catholic prayer service on May 16th at 11 am at the Bradley Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, www.stjude.org

Funeral Home:
Wm. A. Bradley & Son Funeral Home
Visitation Hours:
Wm. A. Bradley & Son Funeral Home, 345 Main Street, Chatham, NJ on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 from 4:00pm - 8:00pm.
Wm. A. Bradley & Son Funeral Home, 345 Main Street, Chatham, NJ on Thursday, May 16, 2024 at 11:00am
Memorial Gifts:
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, www.stjude.org
Bradley Funeral Homes
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