The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

Max Fernandez


November 7, 2018

Max Fernandez passed Oct. 14 and will be honored at Goldendale Grange Friday, Nov. 16 from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

Maximiliano A Fernandez grew up on a large ranch near Punta Arenas, Chile. His people came from Spain and brought in some of the first merino sheep into the area. As a young man Max found work with Santa Fe Drilling Company that was exploring for oil near the Magellan Straights. When the company left Chile, Max decided to immigrate to California and work his way through Orange Coast College by working weekends, nights, and summers for them.

He worked summers in Seattle suppling barges carrying supplies to the oil fields. When he graduated, he left for Alaska to work in Cook Inlet and later to the North Slope (Prudhoe Bay) working for British Petroleum becoming a senior drilling supervisor. Later he was sent to Columbia and Venezuela to open drilling sites there, building roads, camps, and even first aid stations for the workers and locals. This may have been one of the most rewarding projects with British Petroleum. He loved helping the local people find jobs and have opportunity for medical aid. Many traveled long distances by foot or donkey to receive help.

In 1968 he was naturalized and married Ann. Together they raised two girls, Sabrina and Cristina, and have two grand-daughters, Avery and Clare. During this time, he also built houses and drilled water wells in the fast-growing city of Anchorage. This August Ann and Max celebrated 50 wonderful and exciting years of marriage.

In the early '80s, it was time to find a place of his own to raise cattle and Rambouillet sheep. When he saw the Columbia Hills, the river, the mountains, the fields, and felt the wind in his face, he knew he had found the perfect place. Here he could return to his own heritage: living and working with sheep, cattle, and dogs where he could teach his children, grand girls, and others about caring for the land and animals. His children now have careers of their own but plan to have a big part in continuing care of the ranch.

Max was proud of being a U.S. citizen and wanted to ensure that farming and ranching would continue to be an important part of American life. That's why he loved being part of the Washington Farm Bureau and the Western Range Association. He worked on the Rural Coalition Board, NIFI, and on the Federal advisory committee on Animal Health in Washington, D.C., and on many local committees. He had wonderful experiences meeting people and traveling to different parts of the United States. His life took him from the southern tip of the world to the Arctic. He has never stopped being grateful to this country and to God for granting him all these wonderful opportunities.

Max was a true Shepherd of the land He loved to say, "No year is the same; we follow the grass and move with the seasons." He has now moved on with the season. We still have all the good memories.

Come celebrate and honor Max at Goldendale Grange on Friday, Nov. 16, 4 to 6:30 p.m. Food

and stories to be shared. Memorial contributions may be sent to Klickitat County Historical Society or your favorite charity.


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