Carita Hernandez, 59, 6 ABC videographer

Posted: March 22, 2013

YOU DON'T SEE people like Carita Hernandez when TV breaks on the news. But they're there. In fact, without them there wouldn't be a broadcast at all.

"You may have never seen her face on 'Action News,' but you saw her work, and, as such, a part of her spirit," said Brian Taff, a news anchor at 6 ABC.

Carita, who worked at the station for 32 years, was the woman in the van whose job was to take the video footage shot at the scene, edit it and stream it back to the station.

"What I wish you could see," Taff said, "is the enormous effort by those, like Carita, on the viewfinder's side of the camera or at the helm of the edit machine. She was a giant, and hugely sweet, presence there."

Taff, like all of those who worked with Carita at "Action News," was shocked by her unexpected death Feb. 26. She was 59 and lived in Southwest Philadelphia.

"Her death took all of us by surprise, but I suppose death always catches us unprepared, no matter how expected or unexpected it may be," Taff said.

"Today, we choose not to focus on the days before she left us, but on the years before - the friendships she created, the experiences we shared, and the contributions she made to our news organization."

Among the recent stories Carita helped to cover was the destruction in New Jersey by Hurricane Sandy. Her team endured wind and rain and high tides to get the story. Carita sometimes manned the camera and drove the truck when needed.

Carita, who lived a life of kindness and generosity, continued to contribute to society at her death. She was an organ donor whose organs already have been donated to save lives and restore vision to a number of recipients.

She donated a kidney to a cousin, Frederick E. Royall Jr., in April 2000, and today he is living a full life thanks to her.

"She was a happy person," said her daughter, Danika Hernandez-Stubbs. "She was always smiling. She was everyone's counselor, shoulder to lean on, sister and best friend."

Carita's caring spirit extended beyond humankind. Stray cats in the neighborhood knew her as a soft touch. The word spread to all of the animals dwelling in Cobbs Creek Park, and they trooped to her house for handouts and shelter - rabbits, raccoons, possums, squirrels, all living in happy harmony with the stray cats.

Carita not only fed them all, but she had a fountain for water and little shelters, like doll houses, for them in bad weather.

After graduating from Cheyney University with a science major, Carita went to Honduras with the Peace Corps and spent two years teaching science to high- school-age students in the capital, Tegucigalpa.

"For her, it was a way to give back to others, especially in another country," her daughter said. "She had a passion for teaching."

Carita married Antonio Hernandez in Honduras, and Danika was born there. Shortly after birth, Carita returned to the U.S. The marriage later ended in divorce.

Carita was born in Philadelphia to Clarence Wallace Barrow and the former Cara Royall. She graduated from John Bartram High School before going on to Cheyney.

She was one of the original students at Philadanco, the Philadelphia Dance Co., and enjoyed dancing for some years.

Her TV career began as an intern with what was then Channel 3. She later became a full-time employee of Channel 6. She took courses in TV production at a local school to further her career.

Always family-oriented, Carita took delight in the birth of a granddaughter, Danika's daughter, Diahna Stubbs, and started teaching her to tap dance at the age of 1 1/2. Before Diahna was 2, Carita was teaching her Spanish.

Carita was an active member of St. Andrews & St. Monica's Episcopal Church, where she started an audiovisual ministry, teaching video production. A Holy Week film was produced. She was also an usher and member of the Women's Ministry.

Besides her daughter and granddaughter, she is survived by her mother, Cara "Vonnie" Barrow, and a brother, Curt Barrow.

Services: Celebration of Life at 11 a.m. May 4 at St. Andrews & St. Monica's Church, 3600 Baring St.

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