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In Memoriam: Jeanette Fernández

In Memoriam: Jeanette Fernández

November 26, 1944 – August 14, 2022

by Ronald Louis Fernández

Originally published in American Lutherie #147, 2022


Jeanette Fernández, a lovely lass born Jeanette T. Wilson in Glasgow, Scotland, died in Anacortes, Washington, last summer. While not a luthier, Jeanette was heavily involved in the international guitar trade for three decades. And she was a big fan of the Guild.

Jeanette left school at age fifteen when her father died. She worked in banks in Glasgow and London for six years, then got a loan and immigrated by herself to Montreal for the 1967 World’s Fair, Expo 67. She was hired by the anthropology department at McGill University and ran the office for almost ten years under three different professors. I was a Ph.D. student there when we met, and we were married in 1973.

In the early 1990s, Jeanette became an essential part of my Spanish-guitar import business, Fernández Music. Jeanette handled the accounting, packing, and a lot of customer relations. She accompanied me on visits to stores and suppliers in the U.S. and Europe. She got to know “all the usual suspects” in our industry.

Jeanette Fernández at the 2011 GAL Convention in Tacoma. Photo by Cyndy Burton.
At the 2011 GAL Convention in Tacoma (l to r): Ron Fernández, Jeanette Fernández, John Park. Photo by Mónica Esparza.

Part of our business involved being the American representatives at the Anaheim National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show for Esteve Guitar and Juan Hernández Workshop from Valencia Spain. At NAMM, Jeanette got to know many of the international suppliers and customers located in Japan, Germany, Argentina, Mexico, France, Canada, Australia, Britain, Spain, and Portugal. She dealt with everyone in her Scottish-accented English, but also on occasion in French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

We frequently traveled together to do business with guitar makers in Valencia, Madrid, and Portugal. She had a special relationship with Spanish guitar maker Felix Manzanero and his wife Soli in Madrid, and with Luis and Graça Penedo, who were involved in the Portuguese guitar world.

While the giant NAMM Show in Anaheim with 90,000 attendees was a part of doing business, the Guild Convention, in contrast, was a great pleasure for Jeanette. She loved meeting old friends, attending the concerts, living in the old dorms, eating in the Commons, and the nights at the local bars, ice cream shop, and restaurants. She especially looked forward to the auction on the last night. When we would get a new issue of American Lutherie, she would go through it to see the people she knew. She felt very comfortable with all the characters of the luthier brotherhood.

She was also the camera person on our French Polish for Guitarmakers DVD. She always refined my writings. She had an innate insight into the English language. Any success of our guitar business I fully share with Jeanette.

And she always made me a better person. —

(We always loved seeing sweet Jeanette at the Conventions, and will miss her kindness and gifts of chocolate this summer. — The GAL Staff)