On October 24, 2018, Kelli Fernando, age 51, died unexpectedly from an unforeseen complication after a successful major surgery. She was spending the morning talking with a friend, sharing the easy laugh that came readily, even when she was in the hospital.
Funeral services will be held at St. Peter Catholic Church in Jefferson SD at 10:30 a.m., Sat., Nov. 3rd. A visitation will be held at St. Teresa of Calcutta (995 Sioux Point Road) in Dakota Dunes from 5-8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 2nd with a rosary at 7:00 p.m. and a vigil service immediately following.
Kelli grew up in Neligh, Nebraska, graduated from Neligh-Oakdale High School, and later Briar Cliff College. She is survived by her husband of 27 years, Emile Fernando, by her two sons, Alex and Brian, by her parents, Ron and Fran Gilg, by her siblings, Matt and Jennifer Gilg, her grandson Noah and by dozens of friends and neighbors who will never forget her. One made the comment that Kelli made everyone feel like they were her best friend. That summed her up perfectly.
Kelli was a rare person who could say she lived with no regrets. She worked for most of her career at Verizon Business and its previous incarnations, accepting each change in ownership and management with grace. When the company last went on strike, she was even prepared to climb the telephone poles. She tackled projects with stunning efficiency, from organizing sand-bagging efforts to ward off flood waters in her neighborhood to planning family reunions. She was at ease with a large crowd, and regularly welcomed friends and family into her home for memorable gatherings.
Kelli loved her family completely, accepting their quirks and hobbies with no judgment and a big dose of humor. She loved to sing and gave of that gift freely; especially to young people she mentored. Friends and family will miss that voice, her laughter, her big parties, her fantastic cooking, her unmatched planning abilities, and the love she spread as she moved through the world.
In lieu of flowers, the family has set up a Kelli Fernando Memorial account at Security National Bank SD to collect funds to first sponsor the music program of St. Theresa of Calcutta in Dakota Dunes, in memory of Kelli’s contributions to the music ministry she so dearly loved.