Obituaries for April 16, 2020
Ruby Benally Morton
PAGE, Ariz. — On April 1, Ruby Benally Morton, beloved wife, mother, sister, aunt, and grandmother, passed away at the age of 73.
Ruby was born March 29, 1947, at her family home, located on Black Mesa, Arizona, to Kateney and Bertha (White) Benally, into the Kinlichíi’nii (Red House People Clan), born for Yé’ii dine’è Tá’chii’nii. Her maternal grandfather was Biih bitoodnii (Deer Spring) and paternal grandfather was Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water).
Ruby graduated in 1967 from the Sherman Institute in Riverside, California, spending summers working in Yosemite National Park. She studied and received her certification as an LPN. Ruby started her family in 1969 in Oakland, California, marrying and having her first child.
She lived in the Bay area and participated in the burgeoning urban American Indian community. Ruby was an early volunteer for the groundbreaking American Indian pre-school established at the Intertribal Friendship House in Oakland.
By 1976, she returned to northern Arizona, to the land and to the family that she loved. Ruby was a teacher’s aide in the Page Unified School District. She was a devout Christian and enjoyed spending the majority of her time volunteering at the Nazarene Church of LeChee, Arizona, and teaching Sunday school.
Ruby is survived by her husband, Joseph Ohland Morton; sons, David (Jerrilene), Jonathan (Jolene) and Kyler (Chevelle) Butler; sisters, Louise R. Black and Joanne (Leonard) Butler; brothers, Tom (Elsie) Benally and Jim (Nellie) Benally; and six grandchildren, nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
Ruby is preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Tsázii White, Tsosie White, Kee Yázhí White and Ben Benally; sister, Clytha White; and son, Joseph Ruben Morton. A memorial service will be determined at a later date.
Memorial contributions can be made at https://PayPal.me/pools/c/8o4gXfunwh. All donations are greatly appreciated.
Nekota Reece Holyan
CRYSTAL, N.M. — Graveside service for Nekota Reece Holyan, 21, of Crystal, New Mexico, will be held today, April 16, at 10 a.m. at the family plot in Crystal, with Donald L. Pine, president of the LDS Branch, officiating.
Nekota was born Nov. 29, 1998, in Fort Defiance, into the Tó’áhaní (Near the Water Clan), born for Nóóda’í dine’é (Ute People Clan). He passed away April 11, 2020, in Asaayi, New Mexico.
Nekota attended Crystal Boarding School, Crownpoint Community School, Wingate High School and Navajo Pine High School. He worked as a lumberjack in Crystal, and was currently employed with Power House Company in Texas. Nekota was employed as an auto mechanic, welder, carpenter, rancher, veterinary assistant, horse trainer, cook and babysitter.
He enjoyed hauling wood, listening to music, writing poetry, helping people, being with family, horseback riding, basketball and football.
Nekota is survived by his spouse, Mileah Washington; parents, Sharon Begay and Arnold Holyan; brothers, Randy Holyan, Colten Holyan, Emery Holyan, Easton Holyan, Weston Holyan and Karlton Holyan; sisters, Houston Begay, Christelle Holyan, Camber Holyan, Autumn Holyan, Heather Holyan and Rachel Begay; and paternal grandparents, Minnie Dawes and Leonard Holyan.
Nekota is preceded in death by his brother, Emmanuel King; nephew, Jordan Antonio; and maternal grandparents, Rachel Denetso and Ross Begay Sr. Pallbearers will be Randy Holyan, Emery Holyan, Easton Holyan, Weston Holyan, Geno Antonio, Casey Tsosie, Howard Gishie Jr. and Preston Haley.
Honorary pallbearers will be Arnold Holyan, Colten Holyan, Karlton Holyan, Wacey Phillips, Jerald Livingston and Kyle Begay. Silver Creek Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.
Dennis Mitchell Sr.
FORT DEFIANCE — Graveside service for Dennis Mitchell Sr., 66, of Fort Defiance, was held April 14 at the Old Red Lake family plot in Fort Defiance. Dennis was born Feb. 25, 1954, in Fort Defiance, into the Naakai dine’é (Mexican Clan), born for Naasht’ézhí dine’é (Zuni Clan). He passed away April 6, 2020, in Fort Defiance.
Dennis graduated from Window Rock High School in 1974 and worked with Navajo Forest Products Industry, emergency medical technician with the Navajo Nation and a heavy equipment operator at Fort Defiance Chapter. Dennis enjoyed bike riding, herding sheep, hiking, reading and playing the guitar.
Dennis is survived by his wife, Imogene Ruth Mitchell; sons, Eric Mitchell and Dennis Mitchell Jr.; daughters, Michelle Mitchell and Melanie Mitchell; brother, Lorenzo Mitchell; and eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Dennis is preceded in death by his sisters, Hazel Mitchell, Elsie Mitchell, Elamae Keeto and Nettie Woodman; mother, Annie Smith; and father, Ben Mitchell. Honorary pallbearers were Eric Mitchell, Dennis Mitchell Jr., Loren Begay, Carlos Candelario, Butler Seeley and Jared Burbank.
There will be no reception due to the COVID-19 guidelines and precautions set in place by the Navajo Nation. Summit Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Wyatt Wendell Yazzie
FORT DEFIANCE — Graveside service for Wyatt Wendell Yazzie, 24, of Milkwater, Arizona, were held April 13 at the Fort Defiance cemetery.
Wyatt was born Jan. 5, 1996, in Fort Defiance, into the Honágháahnii (One-walks-around Clan), born for Naakai dine’é (Mexican Clan). He passed away March 31, 2020, in Gallup.
Wyatt attended elementary school in Albuquerque, and elementary, middle and high school in Navajo, New Mexico. He continued high school and trade school at North Dakota Job Corps and recently enrolled at El Paso Job Corps in El Paso, Texas.
Wyatt enjoyed animals and was very social and talented in what he put his mind to. He loved building things and working on vehicles. His goal was to become a welder.
Wyatt is survived by his daughter, Zanniah Diamond Yazzie; guardian mother, Nellie Harvey; mother, Ida Harvey; father, Wendell W. Yazzie; brother, Eric Harvey; sisters, Robyn Yazzie, Jana Watchman and Jammie Etsitty; and paternal great-grandmother, Mattie Yazzie.
Wyatt is preceded in death by his brother, Jimmy Watchman; maternal grandmother, Annie Barney; maternal grandfather, Lawrence Harvey; paternal grandmother, Abalina Jake; and paternal grandfather, Wallace Yazzie.
Pallbearers were Eric Harvey, Jana Watchman, Jason Etsitty, Casey J. Tsosie and Vincent Vandever.
A reception will take place at a later date. Silver Creek Mortuary was in charge of arrangements.
Cordell Wilson Etsitty
SHIPROCK — A private funeral service for Cordell Wilson Etsitty (Del) was held April 6 at the Desert View Funeral Home in Shiprock. He was laid to rest at the Kirtland/Fruitland cemetery in Kirtland, New Mexico.
Cordell was born Jan. 6, 1979, in Shiprock, to Wilbur and Betty (Cayedito) Etsitty, into the Tó’aheedlíinii (Water Flow Together Clan), born for Bit’ahnii (Under His Cover Clan). His maternal grandfather is Ta’neeszahnii (Tangle) and paternal grandfather is Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water). He passed away March 27, 2020, at the San Juan Regional Hospital in Farmington.
Cordell was a lifetime resident of Little Water, New Mexico. He graduated from Newcomb High School in 1997 and attended one year at San Juan College. Cordell worked at Sun Glass for several years, Glass Company of Albuquerque, 4 Corners Glass, Inc. in Farmington, and Safelite in Farmington.
He then started his own business, Cordell Windshield Repair. Cordell enjoyed being with family, helping his parents at the ranch and around the house, camping, fishing, and watching the Steelers play and Michigan State basketball.
Cordell will be missed dearly by all, but he is forever in our hearts.
Cordell is survived by his daughter, Shauna Del; spouse, Paulena Tom; sister, Karen Etsitty of Phoenix; brother, Marvin Etsitty of Little Water; sister-in-law, Charlene of Kayenta; granddaughter, Layla; and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters on his mother’s adopted Hooghan lání (Many Hogans) Clan.
Cordell is preceded in death by his maternal step-grandparents, Robert and Katherine Fulton; maternal grandparents, Del and Betty (Gould) Cayedito; and paternal grandparents, Wilson and Louise Etsitty.
Pallbearers were Marvin Etsitty, Deshsune Hosteen, Jayden Etsitty-Cunningham, Rudy Bylilly, Kelsey Yazzie Sr. and James John. Honorary pallbearers were Wilbur Etsitty, Trevor Tallbull, Gaberial Bylilly, Chris Acevedo, Marty Dechilly, Dean Gamble and Raynarte “Bart” Baldwin.
The Etsitty family would like to thank everyone for their heartfelt condolences, prayers and donations. A memorial celebration of life service will be held at a later date. Shiprock Desert View Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Joshua Ednatay Becenti
MARYSVALE, Utah — On April 5, Joshua Ednatay Becenti passed away at the age of 30. He was born Aug. 26, 1989.
Joshua was very creative and artistic. He loved photography, trips to California, camping, hiking, and had a passion for music of all genres.
Joshua had a way about him that touched the hearts of each person he met. He lived life to the fullest with respect and appreciation for all things.
Joshua is survived by his father, Eddie Roy Becenti; brothers, Solito Becenti, Jacob Becenti and Jonah Becenti; sisters, Wauneka Andrade, Someka Becenti and Shaunacy Becenti; maternal grandmother, Pauline Peshlakai; paternal grandparents, Juanito and Evelyn Becenti; and several nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Joshua is preceded in death by his mother, Sharon Deanna Platero. Joshua will be laid to rest next to his mother in Marysvale, Utah. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a celebration of life memorial service at a later date not yet determined. Wyman Cremation and Burial Chapel is in charge of arrangements.
Roland Cody Dixon
BELLEMONT, Ariz. — Roland Cody Dixon, 75, was born May 20, 1944, in Bellemont, Arizona, into the Naakai dine’é (Mexican Clan), born for Tábaahá (Water’s Edge Clan). He passed away March 29, 2020, in Flagstaff.
Roland was a graduate of Phoenix Indian High School, a Vietnam veteran, champion rodeo bull rider, horseman, Navajo Nation police officer, Apache County deputy, Diné College campus police officer, gospel and Navajo singer/entertainer, community health representative, Navajoland Tours owner and operator, bed and breakfast owner, peacemaker with Navajo Nation Courts, private process server, Kayenta Chapter General Development Committee member and Kayenta Community School Board member.
Roland loved family time, the outdoors, nature, animals, travel, game shows, trips to the casino and the Cardinals. He especially enjoyed conversations with family and friends about politics, world events, sports, community happenings, and family updates.
Every year Roland turned a year older he would say he still felt 16 – may you be forever 16. Roland touched the lives of many and will always be remembered with love as a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, nali, great-grandfather, uncle, cousin, friend, clan relative and involved community member.
Roland is survived by his wife, Lita Dixon; daughters, Deborah Lem and Gayle Benally; sons, Darrell Dixon, Matthew Dixon and Lyle Chris Dixon; stepchildren, Bobbi Rose Nez, James Nez, Gary Nez and Ramone Nez; nalis, Cooper Nez and Amelia Nez; and nine grandchildren and one great-grandson.
Roland is preceded in death by his mother, Martha Dixon; father, Dean Dixon; sister, Alberta Mae Dixon; brothers, Charles Dixon, Hayes Dixon and Danny Dixon; and grandson, Beau Lem. Graveside service and reception will be held at a later date at the Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery at Camp Navajo in Bellemont. Arrangements will be made by Norvel Owens Mortuary.
Lewis C. Silversmith
SANDERS, Ariz. — Lewis C. Silversmith “Lewey” died March 28, 2020, in Albuquerque. He was born Aug. 5, 1940, into the Dibélzhíní (Black Sheep Clan), born for Honágháahnii (One-walks-around Clan).
Lewis is survived by his daughters, Treva Silversmith, Dorene Silversmith, Trudy Baca, Rhonda Silversmith, LuRae Silversmith and LuAnn Silversmith; sons, Lewistus Silversmith and Stacy Silversmith; sisters, Alice Silversmith, Louise Silversmith, Betty Gates, Rita Thacker and Sandra Johnson; brothers, Sammy Silversmith, Benny Silversmith and Peter Silversmith; and 24 grandchildren, 36 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
Lewis is preceded in death by his parents, Cyril and Mary Silversmith; brother, Tommy Silversmith; and sons, Travis Silversmith and Chadwick Silversmith. The family will announce a memorial at a later time.
Angela Lynice Johnson-Conner
CHARLES CITY, Va. — Graveside service for Angela Lynice Johnson-Connor, 64, of St. Michaels, Arizona, were held April 7 at the Chickahominy River in Charles City, Virginia.
Angela was born July 30, 1955, in Richmond, Virginia, into the Chickahominy Tribe Turtle Clan, born for African American. She passed away April 2, 2020, in Gallup.
Angela received a master’s degree in health services management from Western Michigan University and was employed at Navajo United Way as executive director. She was also a grant writer for St. Michaels Association for Special Education.
Angela enjoyed hiking, being outdoors, ballet dancing, music and helping others.
Angela is survived by her husband, James Conner; son, Jonah Connor; daughters, Estar Denny, Cody Connor and Rebecca Palomar; brother, William Johnson; and nine grandchildren. Angela is preceded in death by her parents, Lyndsey Johnson and Bernice Payne. Rollie Mortuary was in charge of arrangements.
GALLUP — Graveside service for Mary Francisco, 94, of Baca/Prewitt, New Mexico, will be held Friday, April 17, at the Sunset Memorial Park in Gallup, with Florence Barker officiating.
Mary, a homemaker, was born Jan. 18, 1926, in Prewitt, into the Kinyaa’áanii (Towering House Clan), born for Tsi’naajinii (Black Streak Wood People Clan). She passed away April 10, 2020, in Prewitt.
Mary is survived by her sons, Wilson Francisco and Jackson Francisco; daughters, Jeannie Largo, Elsie Begay, Margie Francisco, Katherine Francisco, Dorothy Francisco and Jolene Francisco; sister, Bessie Mitchell; and 26 grandchildren and 48 great-grandchildren.
Mary is preceded in death by her spouse, Jim Francisco; daughter, Jeannette Carmello; and sons, Jameson Francisco, Harrison Francisco and Peterson Francisco.
Pallbearers will be Marced Largo, Mitchell Chavez, William Francisco, Wilson Francisco and Jackson Francisco. Rollie Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.
Johnny Rusty Manuelito
ALBUQUERQUE — Funeral services for Johnny Rusty Manuelito, 77, of Crownpoint, was held Feb. 19 at Daniels Family Funeral in Albuquerque. Burial followed at the Santa Fe National Cemetery in Santa Fe, with Pastor Trey Hammond officiating.
Johnny was born April 9, 1942, in Crownpoint, into the Tó’aheedlíinii (Water Flow Together Clan), born for Kiyaa’áanii (Towering House Clan).
He passed away Feb. 7, 2020, in To’hajiilee, New Mexico. Johnny graduated from Fort Sill Indian School in Oklahoma, and earned an associate’s degree in biblical studies at Abilene Christian School.
Johnny was self-employed as a silversmith of turquoise jewelry and was a former Navajo police officer. He was drafted into the Army as an infantryman (Korea) and was an EMT paramedic. He also worked with the Bureau of Indian Education and Canoncito Community School.
Johnny enjoyed making and designing turquoise jewelry and selling at the Santa Fe Plaza. He loved being with family in the outdoors and loved watching football and basketball.
Johnny is survived by his wife, Jennie Manuelito; sons, Curtis, Travis and Otis Manuelito; daughters, Elvera, Charles and Manuela Manuelito Renteria; brothers, Monte, Jerry and Joe Manuelito; sisters, Bessie Morris, Mary Devore Desiderio, Jennie M. Walters, Betty Manuelito, Lilly Browning, Lucille Barbone and Joann Manuelito; grandchildren, Celeste, Mariah, Kayla, Angelica, Meridian Manuelito, Chase LeClair and Kaizelynn LeClair; and great-grandchildren, Jeramiah, Adam Jamal and Mason.
Johnny is preceded in death by his grandfather; Manuelito Begay; mother, Annie Wero Manuelito; father, Joe Manuelito; brother, Joe Manuelito Jr.; sister, Joann Manuelito; and son, Curtis Manuelito.
Pallbearers were Manuel Renteria, Chase LeClair, Issac Reese Barbone, Aaron Manuelito, Marcus Panana and Fabian Johnson.
Honorary pallbearers were Otis and Travis Manuelito. A reception took place at the To’hajiilee Chapter House. Daniels Family Funeral was in charge of arrangements.