Cover photo for Emilio Fernandez's Obituary
Emilio Fernandez Profile Photo

Emilio Fernandez

March 20, 1930 — November 22, 2023

Emilio Fernandez, age 93, dearly beloved husband of 65 years of Otilia Yanes Fernandez. Loving father of Dr. Otilia Fernandez (Dr. Thomas Perrino), Dr. Adelaida Fernandez (Dr. David Montag) and Emilio Thomas Fernandez (Susan Kelley). Cherished grandfather of Dr. Carmen Perrino (Dr. Albert Kim), Lourdes Perrino (Nate Burke), and Carolina Perrino Schram (Nick Schram); Nicolas (fiancée Jess Pembroke) and Elena Montag; Roberto, Isabela, and Mateo Fernandez. Caring great-grandfather of Rafael and Luca Kim and Inez and Selena Burke.

Born in Luarca, Spain in 1930, Emilio was five when he moved with his family to his mother's native Havana, Cuba, where he attended Belen Jesuit School from first to twelfth grade. He followed his passion, studying architecture in a six-year program at the University of Havana, and upon graduation he opened his own practice, designing significant buildings and cultural landmarks such as the Hospital of the League Against Blindness, and the Havana international airport building, with work featured in several international architectural magazines.

Following political upheaval in Cuba, Emilio fled with his family to the United States in 1960, settling in Cincinnati, where he and Otilia raised their children.
Prior to opening his firm, Emilio first had to learn to speak English, and then pass the notoriously difficult architectural licensing exam. He was cautioned that no one passed the exam on the first attempt, but that is exactly what he did. Additionally, he was told by others in the profession that it would not be wise to open his own firm, as it would be better for his family to work with a larger organization. Again, he followed his instincts and found success, founding the firm that is now Elevar Design Group.
Locally, while he was involved in the design of many differing types of facilities, including the renovation and expansion of the AWBERC EPA property in Clifton, his passion was for educational buildings such as Riverview East Academy in the East End, the Three Rivers Local School District new K-12 complex in Cleves, West Clermont High School in Batavia, Mariemont Elementary School, the ATLC building at Cincinnati State and North College Hill K-12 campus.

Known for his quiet strength, boundless intelligence, and exemplary integrity, Emilio worked into his nineties, mentoring countless architects and engineers, all of whom will mourn his loss.
Services being held privately at the convenience of the family. A celebration of life will be held at a later date to be determined by the family. If desired, memorial contributions may be made to the Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati Foundation, 2637 Erie Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45208. https://www.hispanicchambercincinnati.com/foundation/ for educational scholarships.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Emilio Fernandez, please visit our flower store.

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