Esperanza Hernandez

Esperanza Hernandez, age 87, of Safford, went to be with the Lord Friday evening, March 17, 2017, at her daughter’s residence in Loma Linda. She was surrounded by her children and grandchildren.

Esperanza “Panchie” Hernandez was born on July 18, 1929, to Jose and Josefina Martinez. She was the 14th child of 15 children; 6 brothers and 8 sisters. Panchie grew up in Morenci, and graduated from Morenci High School in 1948. Her older sister, Eva paid for her to go to the Phoenix Academy of Beauty Culture, which she graduated from in 1949.

Panchie met Valentine Hernandez right after and they eloped to Lordsburg, NM, on February 4, 1950. They had their first born and only son, Thomas (Son), 11 months later their first daughter, Rebecca (Becky) was born and then followed Diana (Panchonie) and Eva (Ponkie).

She was very well known for her cakes in old Morenci. Panchie baked birthday cakes, graduation cakes, first communion cakes, you name it she baked it. But, what really made her famous was her wedding cakes. She made big, beautiful, fancy wedding cakes with several tiers, bridges, and a fountain in the center which brought on the name from her son “The Cake Boss of Greenlee County.”

Panchie had many, many talents. She crocheted, embroidered, toll painted, sewed, baked, cooked delicious meals and made and sold tamales for many, many years and she loved to garden. But, to her 12 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great grandchildren the best talent she had was being a Nana! Panchie loved the Lord and drew her strength from the Lord during the years of struggle.

Panchie attended Shephard of the Hills Church until she moved to Safford in 1997. When Panchie moved to Safford she was a blessing to every neighbor she had. While living at Sunshine Valley Apartments she was the only apartment that had grass, she still had rose bushes, plants and flowers.
In the early 90’s, she developed diabetes and suffered with diabetic neuropathy and had to retire from the Morenci Clinic. Although her illness got better, she still had constant pain. When her doctor advised her to start dialysis, she refused. She moved in with her daughter Diana after breaking her arm in December 2015. Her kidneys gradually got worse and a week before Christmas 2016, she was placed on Hospice care. She was surrounded by her family when she took her last breath on earth. We are comforted to know, without a doubt, she is in Heaven with our Lord and Savior. There was one great-great grandchild she or anyone hadn’t met, Cadence. She is up in Heaven being the perfect Nana to our family’s angel.

Panchie is survived by: her 3 children, Tommy, Becky, and Diana (Pat), a deceased daughter Eva (Greg).

Funeral services for Esperanza will be conducted Saturday morning, March 25, 2017, at 10:00 a.m., at the Shepherd of the Hills Community Church in Morenci by Rev. Bob Blacker. Concluding services will follow in the Bunker Cemetery.

The family will receive friends Saturday morning from 9:00 a.m. until service time at 10:00 a.m., at the Shepherd of the Hills Community Church in Morenci.

Online condolences may be offered at

Arrangements are entrusted to Vining Funeral Home.