A photo of Jose “Tony” Hernandez

Jose “Tony” Hernandez

January 17, 1952 - April 24, 2022

Our father, grandfather, uncle, friend, and resident of Newark DE, and original Conguero de Harlem JOSE (TONY) HERNANDEZ, passed away at the age of 70, on Sunday, April 24, 2022.

Born in Sabana Grande de, Puerto Rico on January 17, 1952. Shortly after, his family of 5 (father: Rafael, mother: Dora, and older brothers: Sindo, and Ralphael) moved to 125th Street, New York, NY to solidify careers and take advantage of what Nueva York had to offer.  It was here that Jose found his love for music.  From hanging out with members of the Fania All Stars on the streets near the Apollo theatre, Jose studied the sounds, soul, and rhythms of the Conga. From listening to relentless hours of training records, to attending live concerts throughout the 5 boroughs, Jose mastered the art of the Conga to the point that musicians far and wide would seek Jose out to listen to his riffs, and readily hand over their drums to learn in his presence.

Not only did fellow musicians express their love, but a certain lady by the name of Petra (Sally) Castillo did as well. It was on University Avenue in the Bronx, where Jose first approached Sally for a date and never looked back. On June 21st, 1975, Jose and Sally took their vows of wedded matrimony and developed their own harmony.  This new harmony traversed through the Bronx, to Staten Island and rested in Newark, Delaware. Its dynamic harmony resonates to this day through the hearts of son, Anthony Hernandez, along with Daughters, Rosa Guertin, Jafet Hernandez, and all their grandchildren.

Jose is remembered by all who know him for always putting the best interest of his family before his own.  From his humble beginnings in Citibank as a mail clerk, to growing with the bank and re-locating to Newark, Delaware as a senior computer operator. Jose always believed in sacrificing all he had to help those around him. Once retiring after 30 years in Citibank with a big grandfather clock, Jose supported his wife in managing their own Day Care business “The Future Generations” for an additional 10 years.  His ability to switch gears, utilize his knowledge from banking, and pour out his love for children, grew a thriving business and helped develop children in his local community.

Tony will always be remembered for his ability to bring people together, make people laugh, and being the life of the party!! In closing we wish Tony eternal rest, and take a quote from one of his favorite songs “Y Volar, Volar” “Gracias Tony por “Detener el tiempo, y mantener a mi lado, nuestro amor que e sagrado, y solo vivire lo nuestro y amamos hasta quedar sin aliento”. Translation, Thanks Tony for stopping the time, and keeping by my side our love that is sacred and just living our own and loving each other until I’m out of breath.

Jose is survived by his beloved spouse, Petra Hernandez; beloved children, Anthony Hernandez of Phoenix AZ, Rosa Guertin (Louis) of Elkton MD, Jafet Hernandez of Newark DE; grandchildren; eldest brother, Sindo Hernandez (Blanca) of Englewood NJ; and nieces and nephews.

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 1 pm until 2 pm on Friday, April 29, 2022, at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 121 West Park Place, Newark, DE, where a Memorial Service will begin at 2 pm. Interment will be held privately.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Tony’s memory may be made to the American Heart Association, PO Box 840692, Dallas, TX 75284-0692 or by clicking here www.heart.org.

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18 Condolences for Jose “Tony” Hernandez

  • Rosa, Janet, Sally and family – we are so sorry for your loss. Tony was a great husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend to all. Our prayers are with you all, and may your many good memories comfort you as you mourn the loss of such a great man.

    We will all certainly miss him.

    Much love,
    Charlene, Ed & Zoey

  • My deepest condolences to Petra and the family, Prayers to you all, may Tony Rest in Peace 🙏

  • So very sorry for your loss

  • My deepest condolences to Sally,Rosa,jafet all the family . José was a wonderful caring man . May he R.I.P ! He shall never be forgotten. God rest his soul. May this time of pain from your dear loss heal in time .

  • Tony, my baby brother, my heart aches. But that same heart will hold you close forever. Sally, your incredible wife, your children Anthony, Rosa ( Louis Guertin) and Japhet, our brother Sindo, our Nieces and Nephews and everyone that loved you so much, share my grief. Rest in Eternal Peace… till we meet again…

  • I have fun memories of Tony he spent a lot of time at my mothers house Blanca Melendez I believe I was one of his favorites as a child he made me laugh and he always looked out for us show me the Spirit of the Lord carry him home and the name of Jesus I pray amen

  • May he rest in peace. You will be missed

  • All those beautiful memories will keep Tony alive for ever! Rest In eternal peace🙏 We will keep you in prayers as you go through your loss, dear cousins! ❤️

  • Sally (Petra) – Our thoughts and prayers are with you and you family. What a full life Mr. Tony led. He lives on in your lovely children and grandchildren. God bless you.
    The Johnson Family

  • My deepest condolences to your family. Every time I hear a conga, I will remember Tony with fondness. Love you, sending prayers, and hugs.

  • My condolences to Sally and Jafet and Rosa. My heart aches knowing of the passing of a wonderful father husband uncle and grandfather. Tony I will always remember the great times how you enjoyed your Salsa music. You will truly be missed😔 May you RIP 🙏🙏

  • Please accept my deepest condolences to your family. I am praying for you during this sad time and wish your beloved peace and serenity.🫂

  • So sorry for your loss, My deepest condolences to you and the family. May he RIP 🙏🕊

  • To my lovely family, I am truly sorry for your loss. I will miss our conversations. All the laughing, joking and cussing to express our points of view. Our long talks about music and everything under the sun will sorely be missed. Rest in Heaven my dear uncle.

  • Lamentando la partida de mi amigo y compañero de trabajo José. Angie y yo elevamos oraciones al cielo por fortaleza para Petra y familia en tiempos de dolor. Boricua dale duro a esas congas en el cielo.

  • Sorry for your loss Madrina. I have nothing but fond memories of you both as a child. Really touches me to hear he has passed. Sending hugs and prayers for you and the family. May he rest in eternal peace.

  • Rosa, Lou and family,

    So sorry for your loss! I only met him twice and in those 2times I could tel what a caring and nice man he was! He will be playing his drums in heaven! I’m so sorry I can’t be there today celebrating his life. Prayers of comfort to you and the family!
    With Deepest Sympathy,
    Janine Alkanowski

  • Dear Sally and Family although I have only known you and Tony for a short time. You have always treated me as part of the family. I will miss not seeing him at Rosita’s and Mark’s barbeque gatherings watching and listening to him play an instrument was amazing on how well he manipulated those instruments! You can rest assure that he is now in a better place jamming those congas as loud as he can. Rest in Peace until we meet again. With Heartfelt Sympathy. Jenny