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Obituaries for Dec. 17, 2020

Eleanor Ahkeah Clah (Dec. 25, 1928 — Dec. 9, 2020)

GADII’AHI, N.M. — Eleanor Ahkeah Clah, 91, of Gadii’ahi, New Mexico, passed away peacefully at her home on Dec. 9, 2020, from the COVID-19 virus.

Eleanor was born in the family home in Gadii’ahi, on Christmas day, Dec. 25, 1928, into the Tódík’ózhí (Salt Water Clan), born for Tsin sikaadnii (Clamp Tree Clan).

Eleanor’s parents were the late Sam Ahkeah from Beclabito, New Mexico, and the late Frances Descheene Ahkeah from Rock Point, Arizona. Her maternal grandparents were Deeshchii’nii Sani and Asdza-Suie from Rock Point, and her paternal grandparents were Atcitty Biyeh and Asdza Bi-ee Llizhinii from Beclabito.

Eleanor’s early years were spent on the Gadii’ahi farm and herding sheep between Gadii’ahi and Rock Point/Dennehotso, Arizona. Her formal education began at Mesa Verde Public School in Mesa Verde, Colorado, where her father worked. Her late elementary school years were spent at Shiprock Camp School. She completed her high school education at Ignacio Indian Boarding School in Ignacio, Colorado, where she excelled in sports, mainly basketball, and home economics.

Eleanor was introduced to her husband, Herbert T. Clah, by Shiprock social worker Elizabeth Chief. They later married in the living room of the presiding judge in Aztec, New Mexico.

Eleanor’s career in government work began in Brigham City, Utah, working at the Intermountain Indian School. She was later transferred to the new boarding school in Shiprock, where she worked until she relocated to Nenahenzad Boarding School.

Throughout her career, Eleanor worked as an instructional aide to the students attending the schools. Her residence, for years, was at the Shiprock Mesa Campus, where she met lifelong friends. She immersed herself in the activities of the students and is remembered for her snacks, especially popcorn balls, Kool-Aid, hobby activities, and field trips. Thereafter, she retired to Gadii’ahi to work her farm and enjoy her retirement with family and grandchildren.

Eleanor became involved with the Methodist Church and Gadii’ahi Church, its activities, and upkeep, especially enjoyable was her participation in the church choir, Bible classes, Bible reading, Sunday classes and their trips. She traveled abroad with the church to Israel two times, to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and Canada numerous times with Rev. Paul West and Dorcus.

For her granddaughter’s graduation, Eleanor went to Hawaii. In addition, she has traveled to numerous cities throughout the United States and enjoyed comparing the cultures and languages to Navajo.

Eleanor enjoyed knitting, crocheting dish clothes, quilting, ceramics, reading her Bible, and preparing for holidays and parties.

Eleanor came from a world of politics. She was the daughter and daughter in-law of two Navajo chairmen and was related to many politicians. She cooked for state and national politicians and always said she was not a politician, but would rather cook and pray for them.

Eleanor is survived by her sisters, Margaret Ahkeah Benally, Eva Lee Henagarne, Lora M. Benally, and Edith Ahkeah Deleon; children, Sharon E. Clahchischilliage (Harry McCabe), Cheryle F. Benally (the late Clifford Benally), Evangeline E. Begay (the late Leroy Begay), Gerald C. Clah (Ila Roanhorse Clah), and Bryson E. Ahkeah; and four grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and relatives.

Eleanor is preceded in death by her parents; son, Ronald S. Clahchischilliage; brothers, Curtis Ahkeah, Robert E. Ahkeah and Rodger W. Ahkeah; sisters, Mary Ahkeah, Lucy Ahkeah, Nora Ahkeah, and Fannie Ahkeah; aunt, Doris Kinlichiini Yazzie Ahkeah; and granddaughter, Corrina J. Benally.

The family of Eleanor thanks all who have called and expressed condolences and prayers. Many are feeling the same emptiness we feel of our inability to plan a funeral, burial and reception, but our intent is to convene at a later date to memorialize our matriarch.

Our plans are to cremate Eleanor, per her wish. Our mother is celebrating in a huge reunion of family and friends in the heavens beyond.

Many have asked for an address for sending cards. Cards may be sent to: Sharon Clahchischilliage, P.O. Box 585, Kirtland, N.M. 87417.

Arlendria Leigh Notah

GALLUP — Graveside service for Arlendria Leigh Notah, 30, of Lupton, Arizona, will be held Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 10 a.m., at the Gallup City Cemetery with Pastor Ronnie Yazzie officiating.

Arlendria was born Aug. 3, 1990, in Gallup, into the Tsi’naajinii (Black Streak Wood People Clan), born for Kiyaa’áanii (Towering House Clan). She passed away Dec. 10, 2020, in Albuquerque.

Arlendria graduated from Highland High School in Albuquerque, and received a medical assistant associate degree at ATI in Albuquerque.

Arlendria enjoyed coloring, photography and playing darts and softball. She was a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Lakers.

Arlendria is survived by her mother, Arlene Yazzie; stepfather, Sam Begay; brothers, Paul Notah Jr., Elliott Notah and Eric Notah; sister, Camisha Begay; nalí, Helen Dedman; and grandfather, Freddie J. Nelson.

Arlendria is preceded in death by her father, Paul Notah Sr.; grandmother, Martha Marie Nelson; aunt, Priscilla Guerrero; and great-grandmother, Mae Lee Navajo.

Pallbearers will be Paul Notah Jr., Tyson Begaye, Latisha Begaye, Marcus Murphy, Curtis Murphy, and Nathaniel Harrison.

Honorary pallbearers will be Freddie Nelson, Raul Molina Jr., Paul Begaye Jr., Ricky Murphy, Elliott Notah, Eric Notah, Sam Begay, and Dale Vallo.

There will be no reception due to COVID-19.

Rollie Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

Thurman Lee Begay

RED LAKE, N.M. — Graveside service for Thurman Lee Begay, 57, of Sawmill, Arizona, will be held Friday, Dec. 18, at 10 a.m., at the family plot in Red Lake, New Mexico, with Edguardo of St. Michaels, Arizona, officiating.

Thurman was born April 29, 1963, in Fort Defiance, into the Naasht’ézhí dine’é (Zuni Clan), born for Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water Clan). He passed away Dec. 8, 2020, in Crownpoint.

Thurman graduated from Window Rock High School in 1981 and studied construction/building technology at the University of New Mexico. He was employed at Navajo Housing Authority as a maintenance technician. He also worked as a shift millwright at Ponderosa Products, journeyman carpenter for Design and Engineering, and Blaze/Sours Construction.

Thurman enjoying playing the guitar, listening to heavy metal music and many other music genres, grilling outdoors, home renovations, traveling to new places, and watching his nieces and nephews play softball/baseball.

Thurman is survived by his wife, Verna J. Marianito; brother, Art A. Jimm Jr.; sisters, Isabelle Anderson, Debra Jimm, Artencia Beyal, Arcadia Jimm, Arta Gonzales, and Avis Jimm; and many grandchildren.

Thurman is preceded in death by his mother, Eleanor R. Jimm; parents, Sophie and Jimmie M. Begay; and brother, Perry C. Begay.

Pallbearers will be Arthur A. Jimm Jr., Scott Begay, Craig Marianito, Lambert Jack, Elias Jimm, and Christopher Laughlin.

Honorary pallbearers will be Daryl Beyal, Patrick Burns, Jeff Bunts, Arthur A. Jimm Sr., Raymond Randall, Tim Shorty, Franklin Stewart Sr., and Harry Stewart Sr.

A drive-thru reception will take place at Verna’s residence in St. Michaels, following service.

Silver Creek Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

James Hale

NORMAN, Okla. — An informal come-and-go memorial service for James Hale was held Dec. 11 at the Garden of Eatin’ at the First Baptist Church of Norman Family Life Center.

James was born Nov. 2, 1946, in rural Rehoboth, New Mexico, into the Kinyaa’áanii (Towering House Clan), born for Haltsooí (Meadow People Clan). He went to be with the Lord on Dec. 7, 2020, in Norman, Oklahoma.

James attended Rehoboth Mission School in Rehoboth, and served in the U.S. Navy for approximately two years and was stationed in San Diego and Guam. His post-secondary education included attending the University of New Mexico, University of Oklahoma, Western Carolina University, and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Ultimately earning a certification as a physician’s assistant, followed by a bachelor’s degree. He then served as a physician’s assistant for 25 years with the Indian Health Service and 10-plus years for rural clinics in Oklahoma, until his retirement due to health issues.

Throughout Jim’s life, he loved sharing his memories, stories, faith, and wisdom with all. He was a teacher in the sense, he wanted us to dig deeper, see a bigger picture. He shared his faith regularly and planted that seed in all his children and grandchildren and watched them grow.

Family was everything. Jim took his role as an influencer and “Papa” very seriously. He always had candy to get their attention and that’s all it took to hook them into a life lesson. He loved spending time watching his grandchildren play sports and getting the family together for any occasion.

Jim enjoyed writing, journaling, painting, and working on his life story. His passion was to share his story with his grandchildren of where he came from, how his mother became a Christian, and how that shaped his family to overcome and educate themselves to succeed in their future.

Jim is survived by his wife, Mary; children, Bradley Hale and wife Andrea of Norman, Alyssa Terrell and husband Justin of Moore, Oklahoma, and Jaime Hale of Los Angeles, California; brothers, Benny Hale of Sundance, New Mexico, Frank Hale and wife Jeanne of Sundance, and Ernest Hale of Gallup; sisters, Gladys Hale, LaNora Zimmerman, Gloria Benally, and Frieda Brown of Gallup; and four grandchildren.

Jim is preceded in death by his mother, Priscilla Tso Hale; father, Anderson Hale; brother, Wilbur Hale; and sister, Jean Shorty.

Private memorial services will be held in the spring at the homestead in New Mexico with family and friends.

Helen Y. Wauneka

FORT DEFIANCE — Graveside service for Helen Y. Wauneka, 103, of Fort Defiance, was held Dec. 16 at the Fort Defiance cemetery with Brother Parker officiating.

Helen was born May 15, 1917, in Blue Canyon, Arizona, into the Tódík’ózhí (Salt Water Clan), born for Tł’ááshchí’í (Red Bottom People Clan). She passed away Dec. 11, 2020, in Fort Defiance.

Helen attended 5th grade in Fort Mohave, Arizona, and St. Mary’s in Kingman, Arizona. She was employed as a cook at the Navajo Police Academy in Window Rock, and at Fort Defiance Elementary School. She was also a foster grandparent and Senior Citizen of the Year for Fort Defiance Agency.

Helen enjoyed reading the Bible in Navajo, weaving rugs and Navajo baskets, arts and crafts, singing Navajo songs with a distant drum, and sharing her life stories with her children and grandchildren.

Helen is survived by her sons, Thomas Wauneka, Tommy Wauneka and Sam Wauneka Jr.; daughters, Ruthie Cole and Annie Wauneka; brothers, Herbert Yazzie, Phillip Yazzie and Homer Yazzie; sisters, Zonnie Watts, Harriet Chico, Susie Begay, Na’bah Wauneka, and Asdzaan Liba’; and 14 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren and 14 great-great-grandchildren.

Helen is preceded in death by her husband, Sam Wauneka Sr.; daughters, Marie Luther and Ernestine Wauneka; son, Ernest Wauneka; son-in-law, James Luther Sr.; and parents, Ke’yanazbah and Hastiin Yazzie.

Honorary pallbearers were Thomas Wauneka, Tommy Wauneka and Sam Wauneka Jr.

Summit Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Grace T. Billy

GALLUP — Graveside service for Grace T. Billy, 88, of Sundance, New Mexico, was held Dec. 16 at the Gallup City Cemetery with Pastor David Toppen officiating.

Grace was born Nov. 3, 1932, in Rehoboth, New Mexico, into the Kiyaa’áanii (Towering House Clan), born for Tsi’naajinii (Black Streak Wood People Clan). She passed away Dec. 8, 2020, in Gallup.

Grace loved her birds and enjoyed sewing, puzzles, the outdoors, and spending time with her family.

Grace is survived by her husband, Lee Billy; sons, Eugene Charley and Larry Charley; daughters, Lulah Largo, Margie Marion and Ethelyn Charley; brothers, David Thompson and Micheal Thompson; and 16 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

Grace is preceded in death by her father, Neal Thompson; mother, Beulah Etsitty; daughter, Mable Charley; sons, Harry Charley and Jerry Charley; brothers, Kee Thompson, Paul Thompson and Eddie Thompson; sister, Pauline Begay; and grandsons, Derrick Jim and Dayna Hawpetoss.

Pallbearers were Jeremy Charley, Tyler Robeson, Emilio Tsosie, Isaac Robeson, Ethan Tsosie, and Eli Tsosie.

Honorary pallbearers were Lee Billy, Eugene Charley, Larry Charley, and Malcolm “Coco” Thompson.

Rollie Mortuary was in charge of arrangements.

Tommy Cowboy

CROWNPOINT — Graveside service for Tommy Cowboy, 72, of Crownpoint, will be held Friday, Dec. 18, at 10 a.m., at the Crownpoint community cemetery with Rev. Carlos Baki officiating.

Tommy was born July 6, 1948, in Becenti, New Mexico, into the Tsenabahilnii (Sleep Rock People Clan), born for Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water Clan). He passed away Dec. 10, 2020, in Albuquerque.

Tommy is survived by his wife, Rose Cowboy; daughters, Theresa L. Hannah, Tonya Cowboy and Kyla A. Hannah; sisters, Ann C. Jeff, Kate M. Martin and Irene Hoycott; and four grandchildren.

Tommy is preceded in death by his parents, Tom and Nora Cowboy; brothers, Leo Cowboy, Leonard Cowboy and Nelson Cowboy; and sisters, Alice Cowboy, Ella Cowboy, Etta Billy, Sadie Ivie, and Dorothea J. Smith.

Pallbearers will be Toby Smith, Shane Curley, Emerson Billy, Kyle Charley, Tristan Sandoval, and Dean Ellsworth.

Honorary pallbearers will be Theresa L. Hannah, Tonya Cowboy, Kyla A. Hannah, Mikiya Woody, Maici Woody, Rose Cowboy, Ann C. Jeff, Kate M. Martin, and Irene Hoycott.

Compassion Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

James “Buck” Largo

GALLUP — Graveside service for James “Buck” Largo, 67, of Littlewater, New Mexico, was held Dec. 14 at the Sunset Memorial Park in Gallup, with Rollie Mortuary officiating.

James was born Nov. 29, 1953, in Littlewater, into the ‘Áshiihí (Salt People Clan), born for Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water Clan). He passed away Dec. 4, 2020, in Phoenix.

James attended Brigham Young University and Navajo Community College. He worked for BIA—Land Management, Navajo Technical College, Navajo Community College, Navajo Nation Workforce Development, Special Education and Rehabilitation Service, Disability Services, Inc., and Care 66.

James enjoyed hunting, camping, family celebrations, butchering, rodeo, football, and his children and grandchildren.

James is survived by his wife, Gloria G. Tom; son, Kevin Largo; daughters, Kristen Largo-Yellowman, Chelcy Lewis and Kodie Largo; brothers, Benson Largo, Herman Largo, Sammie Largo, and Toney Largo; sisters, Lillie Ann Tom, Lillian Largo, Lena Williams, and Bertha Shorty; and six grandchildren.

James is preceded in death by his parents, Elsie Abeita Largo and Henry Ford Largo Sr.; Norman Largo, Harold Largo, Henry Largo Jr., and Lucinda Ann Largo.

Pallbearers were Kevin Largo and Brad M. Begay.

Honorary pallbearers were Kade Largo, Benson Largo, Herman Largo, Sammie Largo, and Toney Largo.

Rollie Mortuary was in charge of arrangements.

Wayne Gene Tom

SHEEP SPRINGS, N.M. — Graveside service for Wayne Gene Tom, 62, of Sheep Springs, New Mexico, was held Dec. 16 at the Sheep Springs community cemetery.

Wayne was born May 21, 1958, to Ernest and Francis Hunt, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Gallup. He passed away of COVID-19 on Dec. 8, 2020, at the San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington.

In his early years, Wayne attended Toadlena and Shiprock Boarding Schools, as well as the Phoenix Indian School.

Wayne was a famous artist. His form of art was sandpainting; it was a family trade. He traveled all over the United States going to art shows and locally demonstrated in Scottsdale, and sold his work in the Four Corners, but he traveled as far as Washington, Florida, and New York City. His charismatic personality was just as famous as his work.

Wayne is survived by his significant other, Berta Yazzie of Sheep Springs; brother, Jimmie K. Yazzie Sr. of Sheep Springs; sister, Sharon Ferris of Sheep Springs; and numerous grandchildren.

Wayne is preceded in death by his parents; and brothers, Ernest Tom and Abraham Hunt.

A Celebration of Life where family and friends can gather will be announced at a later date.

Desert View Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

For more information, contact Jimmie Yazzie at

Nelson Lee

ALBUQUERQUE — Nelson Lee, 77, of Albuquerque, passed away Dec. 7, 2020, in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. He was born June 5, 1943, in Rehoboth, New Mexico, into the Tábaahá (Water’s Edge Clan), born for Tsi’naajinii (Black Streak Wood People Clan).

Nelson was retired at the time of his death. He worked most of his life on a farm in Idaho, where he and his wife May raised their family.

Nelson loved sports and was an avid Carolina Panthers fan. He especially loved to spend time with his wife, celebrating their 57th wedding anniversary on June 30, 2020.

Nelson is survived by his wife, May (Wagner) Lee; sons, Norman N. Lee (wife Jean), Myron N. Lee (wife Melissa) and Manuel J. Lee (wife Raven); daughters, Nora A. Lee, Norma A. Lee and Medley H. Lee; and sister, Joann (Lee) Dick; and nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Nelson is preceded in death by his parents, Lily and John J. Lee; brothers, Tom Lee, Danny Lee Sr., Bobby Lee, and Tony Lee; sisters, Elsie (Lee) Willie and Mary Lee; and grandsons, Skyler Lee Burton and Xavier Lee.

A Celebration of Life will take place on June 5, 2021.

Summit Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

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