Shawn Michael Fernald, 57
Shawn Michael Fernald, the eldest son of Mary Lou (Mitzel) and Marvyn C. Fernald, was born on March 3, 1965, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He passed away peacefully into Jesus’ arms on December 21, 2022, in Omaha, Nebraska, surrounded by his loving family.
Rosary with visitation to follow is scheduled for Sunday, January 1, 2023, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 24116 Marian Avenue, Glenwood, Iowa. Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday, January 2, 2023, 10:30 a.m. at Holy Rosary Catholic Church with Interment at the Silver City Cemetery. Peterson Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.
At age three, Shawn was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States. At the time of Shawn’s diagnosis, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school. Fortunately, people today with cystic fibrosis are now living longer because of advancements in treatment.
Despite having cystic fibrosis, Shawn never complained about nor resented his health limitations. Instead, he made a conscience decision to live each day with a positive attitude and to follow his doctors’ instructions. Shawn was very grateful that his family, notwithstanding this diagnosis, ensured he lived an adventurous and happy life.
As a young boy, Shawn and his brother, Sid, enjoyed riding their motorcycles until they ran out of gas; visiting Grandpa and Grandma Mitzel and extended family on the farm in North Dakota; and spending weekends with Aunt Alice and the Ryan cousins. As Shawn used to say, “the Ryans had the best toys!”
Shawn received his first Holy Communion and was confirmed at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Glenwood. He graduated from Glenwood High School in 1983 and from Iowa State University in 1988. While at ISU, Shawn joined Beta Theta Pi fraternity where he made many friends and had the time of his life! Following college graduation, Shawn returned to Omaha and began working at Mutual of Omaha. To show you that God has a plan in everyday life, Shawn met his best friends while working at Mutual ~ Kurt and Shary Irlbeck and Tracie Pettijohn. Your love and friendship meant everything to Shawn.
On September 2, 1995, Shawn married his high school sweetheart, Teresa Kay Boyer, at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Glenwood. Shawn and Teresa made their home in Omaha and always with a beloved rottweiler dog (or sometimes two)!
Among Shawn’s greatest blessings were his niece and nephews ~ Shelby Marie, Shawn Thomas, Stewart Michael, and Austin David. Uncle Shawn loved you with his whole heart and to the moon and back.
By 2007, Shawn’s lungs were so diseased that he received the greatest gift of all on September 10, 2007 - a double lung transplant! We thank God that Shawn received this precious gift of life from an Angel that, to this day, remains unknown.
As many know, Shawn endured many health challenges during this past year. Jesus walked side by side, if not carried Shawn, this month. On the night before his passing, Shawn said he believed that he was going to have a new adventure and he expected Heaven to be beautiful where he could breathe. Rest in eternal peace, our love, until we see you again.
Preceding Shawn in passing were his maternal and paternal grandparents, Fred and Rose Mitzel and Marvyn C. and Dorothy Fernald, Sr.; father-in-law, James M. Boyer, Sr.; and his organ donor Angel. Survivors include his devoted wife Teresa Fernald of Omaha, Nebraska; parents, Marvyn C. and Mary Fernald of Mission, Texas; brother and sister-in-law Sidney and Sheila Fernald of Mission, Texas and their children Shelby Marie Fernald of Portland, Texas, Shawn Thomas and Stewart Michael Fernald of Mission, Texas; mother-in-law, Phyllis Boyer of Silver City, Iowa; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Tony and Laura Gaines and their son Austin David Gaines of Scottsdale, Arizona; brother-in-law James M. Boyer, Jr. of Omaha, Nebraska; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
Shawn’s family extends a heartfelt thank you to the caring doctors, nurses, technicians, and care team support staff at Nebraska Medicine who cared for Shawn his entire lifetime since his original diagnosis in 1968.
In memory of Shawn, please consider becoming an eye, organ, or tissue donor and please discuss your decision with your family. If you already are a donor, we cannot thank you enough since a single organ and tissue donor may save eight lives and enhance over 75 more. Those who donate eyes, organs, tissue, marrow, and blood truly are sharing gifts that are beyond measure. God Bless.
Memorial donations may be directed to Holy Rosary Catholic Church.