Code Talker Joe Vandever Sr. passes
Joe Vandever Sr., one of the last remaining Navajo CodeTalkers, passed away due to health complications in Haystack, New Mexico this morning (Friday) at the age of 96, according to family members.
“The Navajo people have lost another great warrior who sacrificed more than we’ll ever know to defend our country. On behalf of the Navajo Nation, we offer our prayers and heartfelt condolences to his children, and many other loved ones,” said President Jonathan Nez.
He was born Feb. 5, 1923 into the Red Running into the Water People Clan, born for Two Who Came to the Water Clan. He was married for 73 years to Bessie D. Vandever, who passed on Sept. 24, 2019.
Survivors include sister Mary Vandever Delgarito; sons Gary,Tracy, Obie, Joe Jr., and Lester Vandever; daughters Beth Nez, Phegie VandeverSlim, Sheila Vandever Nez; 36 grandchildren, 55 great-grandchildren and onegreat-great grandchild.
He was preceded in death by his parents Emma and WalterVandever; wife Bessie D. Vandever; son Anthony Vandever; and grandsonsCharleston, Antonio, and Travis Vandever. Servicesare being arranged with Cope Memorial Chapel in Gallup, NM. Burial will be inSanta Fe National Cemetery.
Vandever enlisted in Santa Fe, NM on Mar. 26, 1943 and wasdischarged as Corporal on Jan. 22, 1946. He served in northern Solomons,Bougainville, Emirau Islands, Guam, Marianas Islands, Okinawa, Ryukyus Islands,Occupation of Japan, and Occupation of China.