News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Heidi Jan Fernandez


Heidi Jan Fernandez (Molenaar) died peacefully at her home in Camp Sherman on December 13, at the age of 66, surrounded by her five children, her loving husband, and two cats.

Heidi was born in Redwing, Minnesota, in 1957 to parents Mary Gale and Dr. Robert Molenaar. A childhood in the rural Minnesota farm country of Cannon Falls influenced her love of animals and nature early on. At 5 years old she loved climbing onto the backs of her friend's dairy cows and riding them around the barnyard. On her 10th birthday, her beloved black-and-white pony "Tony" arrived. Where other children would ride bikes, Heidi rode Tony - to friends' houses, to the ice cream shop, and even across the local golf course (she said it was a great place to gallop). She shared a love of horses with her mom, who accompanied her every summer weekend to compete in horse shows. Heidi collected numerous ribbons and trophies, and at 15 was crowned Saddle Club Queen.

It was horses that eventually brought Heidi to Sisters in 1977 at age 20, to work with the Arabian horses on the Patterson Ranch. She later said that seeing the beautiful mountain country for the first time was love at first sight, and she never looked back. She was artistic and a gifted writer, and in Sisters those talents found a place to flourish. Her pottery graces tables across the country and globe, and is a treasured remembrance for her children.

Heidi raised five children in Sisters, and they meant the world to her. She was a proud mother to the end, but Heidi's favorite role was that of "Oma" and Grandma. She cherished her time with her grandkids, never tiring of sharing hugs and books and imaginative games with her granddaughters.

Heidi met the love of her life, Stephen, in 2018 in Camp Sherman. The two became inseparable, filling their days with hikes, bike rides, camping trips, birdwatching, and pine cone collecting. The two were married by the Metolius River in February 2022.

Everyone who knew Heidi knew how much she loved nature and cared for all creatures great and small. Her backyard became an unofficial wild bird sanctuary, and she loved sitting at the dining table watching woodpeckers and Western tanagers at the feeders. Heidi will always be remembered for her kindness, integrity, creativity, and love of nature. Heidi's memory will live on in the hearts of all those who loved her.

Heidi is survived by her husband, Stephen; her five children, Amber, Micah, Laura, Crystal, and Leilani; two granddaughters; and four brothers.

A memorial for Heidi will be held in the spring at Camp Sherman Community Hall. Details to follow.


Reader Comments(0)