Maximo Fernandez

Mar 24, 1950 - Jan 9, 2021

East Lawn Memorial Park
4300 Folsom Blvd.
Sacramento, CA, 95819


March 24, 1950 – January 9, 2021

Max was a great husband, father, brother, grandpa, tio and friend. He loved music – especially Jazz – and was an avid record collector. Many nights were spent touching the needle down to a favorite LP and listening for hours.  His knowledge and love for music was vast, and his interests ranged from the songs of his youth when he was a DJ on local radio, to jazz, to the music discovered by his children, which all took a turn on the vintage Hi-Fi at home.

Max greatly enjoyed the outdoors. From long walks around his El Dorado Hills neighborhood to camping trips at Dinkey Creek, New Brighton Beach, and China Flat. Max was at his best outside.

Max was a gifted athlete and excelled at all sports. In his younger days, he played baseball and later slow-pitch softball. He displayed impressive skill at his primary position, shortstop. He coached each one of his children’s baseball, softball, and basketball teams. When he wasn’t coaching, he would never miss a game or meet. Later in life he added Golf to his many passions and would often hit the course early to start his days.

Max was also very much at home at the grill and in the kitchen. He loved to cook for his family and prepare Tri-Tip paired with salsa made from the hot chilis and tomatoes he grew in the backyard.  For numerous celebrations, he would prepare traditional dishes passed down through the generations before him, serving up menudo, nopales, and tortitas de cameron to the delight of his family.

He was loved and adored by his three grand-daughters whom he adored in turn. They spent many summer days picking blueberries in the backyard while he reveled in their laughter and smiles.

Often at night, Max could be found winding down the days with an old war movie, such as “The Longest Day,” an Abbott and Costello comedy, or his favorite animated movie, Toy Story – often with cookies or a bowl of ice cream.

During the holidays, a Charlie Brown Christmas and the Great Pumpkin would always play on the TV, followed by Vince Guaraldi spinning on the Hi-Fi while his growing family would spread masa against hojas, awaiting a scoop of his chili and placement into the Tamale pot. A coin placed in the pot served as a reminder that the water was simmering, but also added a distinct rhythm and melody to the soundtrack of some of his happiest times.

Max was born on March 24th, 1950 in Van Nuys, CA to Maximo Fernandez and Eleanor Fernandez. Max was the eldest of 3 children, Rick and Virginia were his younger siblings. He grew up in Simi Valley, graduating from Simi Valley High 1968.

Max studied at CSU Northridge in Radio and TV in broadcast engineering. He received a FCC radio license.

In Fresno, he volunteered and worked as a Disc Jockey at Radio Bilingue where he was the host of a Latin Jazz radio show.

Max worked for the City of Fresno as a housing inspector and then in the Redevelopment Department where he oversaw repair programs for seniors and low-income people.

For the City of Sacramento, Max was part of Neighborhood Services. He was an Area Manager and oversaw neighborhood redevelopment issues and Parks and Recreation activities. He then became the Director of Neighborhood Services and oversaw the housing and dangerous building department and code enforcement. He then became a director of code enforcement when it split from neighborhood services. In 2010, Max became the director of the Community Development Department. Max worked the for the City of Sacramento for 23 years. He retired in 2014 and returned as a retired annuitant in 2017 and worked as lead of The City’s Restructuring team.

Most recently, Max was part of the Board of Mutual Housing a program that provides sustainable housing and empowers their community members.

Max is remembered by his wife – Cathie; children – Brandon, Ariana, Sara and Max; granddaughters – Lucy, Olivia, and Leila; and sister – Virginia.

A most heartfelt thank you for your love, prayers, and support during this difficult time. We will be having a memorial service in honor of Max in the future when it is safe for us to do so.


  • Josh Pino says:

    Max was a great manager, but most of all he was a great friend. We enjoyed a lot of great time traveling, going to conferences and best of all, eating together. We will miss Max & extend our deepest condolences to his family!

  • Bruce Holmes says:

    It’s been over 20 years since I first met Max. From the beginning we struck up a very strong work relationship that evolved into an even stronger friendship that extended to the very end. Eventually, I was provided the opportunity to put my tool bags and other general contracting tools of the trade away and become involved with Housing & Dangerous Buildings as a building Inspector. We were both waiting for this COVID thing to subside so that we could again get together for Pizza and a Pint. Unfortunately I will simply need to cherish all the times we had together before COVID. Thank You Max!! For the Friendship, the Mentoring, the work environment and leadership that you provided and in a “nutshell” A really all around Great Guy!! My sincerest Thought and Prayers to your family!!

  • Judith Elias says:

    I met Max close to my retirement, he was a very gentle soul and everyone I knew always had good things to say about him. He definitely was a people person. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  • David Gonsalves says:

    Dear Maxxy/Max Headroom,
    I miss your easygoing smile and always good natured way. We did good work at the City and even better work on the golf course.

    We never had a chance to have a beer with Josh and Will, our Cuban brothers. This will be a lesson for all of us to spend time with family and friends while you can.

    My prayers to your family!

  • Martha Lopez says:

    Max our cousin was great person since we first met him! He married my cousin Cathie Lopez. Although we didnt see Max & Cathie often but when we did we can talk forever! When my husband Rafael and Max get together they can talk about all kind of music forever ❤! You will be missed! May he Rest in Paradise ❤⚘

  • Rachel Bartelk says:

    Max was a friendly and kind person and would go out of his way to help. And I was one he helped. I was having a problem getting a city permit. I happen to mention it to him and he helped me with all the paper work and I had a permit the next day. Everywhere he went he enriched others lives. God be with you cathie and family. Will be praying for you.

  • Augustine & Rose Lopez says:

    You rode into Reedley in some VW and then out you came with long hair, a full beard and all we saw were your eyes. When we first met you the first thing we said, “Who is this hippy coming to visit our daughter?” After that first meeting, you became very special to us.
    You were the best son-in-law, kind and thoughtful, and an excellent husband and father. We will always remember our good times going deer hunting, our family BBQs, the Sacramento Jazz Festivals, and tamale making. We have many happy memories with you. Thank you for taking good care of Cathie. God Bless You. Rest in peace with God. Pray for us.
    We love you Max, Mom and Dad Lopez

  • David Lopez says:

    To my brother in-law Max. I remember the lifetime of great times we shared together. Thinking back to the wedding you and Cathie had (WOW, WHAT A PARTY!) to the softball team we played on together ( LEAGUE CHAMPS) to all the beer and bbq’s, the deer hunting trips and sharing the love of music. I couldn’t wait for you to hear the new album I just got. ALL THE LAUGHS! I remember a lot of good times, so many to mention. You were the closest thing I had to a brother. THANK YOU Max for being a great brother in-law, but most of all, THANK YOU for being a great husband to my sister. Rest In Peace Max, I love you and we’ll all miss you…. please give Terri a hug from me

  • Barbara and Gary Dunaye says:

    We will remember Max for his kindness and gentle spirit. When we moved in the neighborhood Max and Cathie were the first neighbors to greet us. He was also the first to say hello to anyone new. He raised a beautiful family, whose days were filled with music and song. One of our fondest memories is at one Christmas when the children and Eleanor, his mother, were singing and playing music. We admired him for his love of family and most importantly his love for Cathie and the joy he brought to them.
    He will be dearly missed. Our love goes out to his family and to those who were fortunate to have known him.

  • Gary L Stowell says:

    When I met Max it was obvious we shared a sense of humor and liked the same things, golf, music, and sports. We had some other things in common like we both had retired from public service positions. Over the years we spent several days either on the golf course, watching golf, baseball, or football on tv. His first love though was music and he would bring his favorite albums to our neighborhood pub on Vinyl Wednesdays. He loved sharing music with his friends. When we golfed we would usually car pool and we would have the radio cranked and we would both be singing along to Classic Vinyl. Difference was he could sing and I can’t but he never minded. We would also talk and share stories and small pieces of our life. Christmas he would make amazing homemade tamales and pass them out to his friends. As friends we would always look forward to his Christmas deliveries. Max was an important part of my life and I will miss my friend.

  • Mike Hanamura says:

    Max was my friend. I’ve known him for over 40 years. We met when he was working with the City of Fresno and I with the City of Sacramento. We worked together on creating the first Statewide Organization of Code Enforcement Officers. We traveled to many City and County Organizations to speak of the need and advantages of having such an Organization. When the City of Sacramento needed a Manager for its Housing Inspection Program, I knew the person they needed, Max. Max brought not only the experience and knowledge required, he also had the integrity and leadership qualities the City needed for this position
    Max’ family had not yet moved to Sacramento, so he stayed with me for six months. I was single at the time so we shared a small house and duties required including cooking. Whereas, I generally cooked in just a few skillets, Japanese style “okazu”, Max would use every pot in the kitchen which I had to clean up.
    We would also spend time after work, jogging, playing tennis, or discussing how the City should improve certain services. We both moved up into Upper Management postions that createdf a new Neighborhood Services Dept. Max’ experiences and knowledge were invaluable in helping the Dept become successful in a very short time. I retired quite a few years before Max and we played occasional golf. But when he retired, we made that a weekly event with friends, Gary Stowell and Paul Stevenson. I will miss Max, greatly.

  • Jerry Way says:

    Max was my dear colleague and friend for over 20-years. We made “Team Building” a work of art setting up opportunities to get together with friends and colleagues to enjoy a nice craft beer and share stories. Max really knew his baseball trivia and could still name every starting player from the 1967 St. Louis Cardinals, although the Giants were his favorite team. We went to many ball games together over the years including Wrigley Field for the 100 year stadium anniversary. Golf became our favorite time together over the last 4 years and we spent a lot of time laughing together. If I’m blessed and get to join you in heaven Max, I can’t wait to tee it up with you again. Love, love, love from Lola and Jers.

  • John Shirey says:

    We have all lost a great person and friend, but in Max, our community has also lost a great public servant. Max was our Director of Community Development during the time I was Sacramento’s City Manager. Max was trustworthy, hard-working, and capable, so much so that when he wanted to retire, I cajoled him into staying in the job for another year. He was wonderful to work with and a team player. Everyone liked Max! I am grateful for his service to the City of Sacramento and his support of me personally. My condolences to Cathie, his children, and his many friends and relatives.

  • Sally Carrillo says:

    Cathie and family our hearts go out to you , know that our thoughts were with you during the rosary and services. We wish we could’ve been there with you to
    Celebrate his life but please let us know of any future memorial.
    Danny was greatly saddened hearing this news and immediately thought of Max and their days together playing softball
    And spending time together during those
    “DDT” days! He was quite an athlete !
    Of course we talked about his love of music and especially his Love of Jazz.
    Cathie many moons ago you went away to college and met this long hair bearded
    Guy brought him home and made a life with him I’m so happy for the time you had together happy to have known him
    And happy for all the memories you and your children and grandchildren have of him he was an amazing person!

  • Bryan Dove says:

    I met and knew Max through his service as a Board Member with Mutual Housing California. It was a pleasure to know him. He was always able to balance his professional experience and compassion to this non-profit that houses lower income households in the Sacramento region. I enjoyed it when Max would arrive at the Board Meetings straight from the golf course. I was jealous and wished I had the chance to play with him. We’ll miss you Max.

  • Anne Marie Flynn says:

    Max was a trusted and respected voice on our Mutual Housing California board of directors. As a staff member, I appreciated Max’s steady presence; he was often quiet but when he had something to say it was always an important contribution to the topic and could sometimes shift the direction of the conversation in impactful ways. On a personal level I will miss Max’s smile, his sense of humor, his sincerity and dedication to community. I hold all of his family and friends in my heart as you move through this time of great loss.

  • Julie Goldfine says:

    I had the honor of knowing Max through his service on the Mutual Housing California board. He was also a member of the finance committee and I was blessed with working with him more closely at the committee level. Max was always very positive and had a great sense of humor. He brought insight and his dedication to affordable housing with him to the meetings. He will be greatly missed by myself and the mutual housing team. My sincerest condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.

  • Neal Albritton says:

    I met Max in 2009 while working for the City of Sacramento and am blessed to have had him as my dear friend. We enjoyed golfing and dining at Tapas over some tasty Spanish food and a cold beverage. I can still hear him greeting me with a ‘hey buddy boy!’ I loved hanging out with him whenever opportunity allowed and will miss him tremendously. Rest in peace dear friend.

  • Candace Noguchi says:

    I had the privilege of working with Max for nearly 20 years. I started working for him at Neighborhood Services and stuck with him until he retired from Community Development. He was such a good boss, mentor, and friend. Max was so personable and genuinely interested in people. I heard so many stories about his family over the years I felt like I knew them and what they were up to. What came through was how much he loved his family and how proud he was of them. I am truly grateful for knowing Max, for his support, and for all that I learned from him. I will miss him dearly. My heart goes out to Cathie and the family.

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