Obituaries for Feb. 25, 2021
BLUE CANYON, Ariz. — Graveside service for Dennis Williams, 89, of Fort Defiance, was held Feb. 20 at the family plot in Blue Canyon, Arizona, with Pastor James Flores officiating.
Dennis was born April 15, 1931, in Blue Canyon, into the Kiyaa’áanii (Towering House Clan), born for Ma’ii deeshgiizhinii (Coyote Pass Clan). He passed away Feb. 10, 2021, in Fort Defiance.
Dennis worked for the BNSF Railway and the Barstow Marine Base in California in his younger years before being employed with the Window Rock Unified School District transportation department for 40 years.
Dennis was a member of the Navajo Bible Church in Fort Defiance, and a member of numerous committees in the community advocating for improvements in education, new schools, roads, health services, and programs that would help community members such as the Grazing Advisory Committee. He was also a national board member on the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance.
Dennis is survived by his wife, Rena C. Williams; sons, Daniel Williams of Window Rock, Darryl Williams of Gallup, Wade Williams and Aaron Williams, both of Fort Defiance; daughters, Denise Williams of Phoenix, and Lucyann Harjo of Norman, Oklahoma; brothers, Bennie Williams of Fort Defiance, and Gilbert Williams of Blue Canyon; sisters, Betty Jumbo and Marie Tsosie, both of Fort Defiance, and Kathy Ashley of Phoenix; and 25 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
Dennis is preceded in death by his parents, Bahe and Nellie Williams; sons, Davis Williams, Dwayne Williams and Levon Williams; and daughter, Delores Sullivan.
Pallbearers were Dwight Burbank, Ryan Burbank, Joseph Harjo, Noah Harjo, Zechariah Harjo, Timothy Nozie, Aaron Williams, Anthony Williams, Eric Williams, Kevin Williams, Matthew Williams, Colby Yazzie, and Westley Yazzie.
Rollie Mortuary was in charge of arrangements.
TEMPE, Ariz. — Funeral services for Pauline Begay, 76, of Indian Wells, Arizona, was held Feb. 24 at the Tempe Mortuary in Tempe, Arizona, with Rev. Roger Tsosie officiating. Burial will take place on Monday, March 1, at the Indian Wells cemetery.
Pauline was born Aug. 10, 1944, in White Cone, Arizona, into the Tsi’naajinii (Black Streak Wood People Clan), born for Tótsohnii (Big Water Clan). Her nalí is Tsénjíkiní (Honey Combed Rock People/Cliff Dwellers People); cheii is Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water). She passed away Feb. 18, 2021, in Tempe.
Pauline attended Albuquerque High School and worked for the City of Phoenix as a data entry specialist for the Internal Revenue Service. After retirement, she helped take care of her grandchildren.
Pauline enjoyed sewing, cooking, reading books, listening to Navajo songs, and visiting with her family and grandchildren.
Pauline is survived by her husband, Herman Begay; sons, Ronald Begay, Donavon Begay and Mark Begay; daughter, Jennifer Begay; mother, Helen Keoni; brothers, Dennis, Eugenie, Leonard, and Wayne; sisters, Lavee, Donna and Caroline; and six grandchildren.
Pauline is preceded in death by her father, Alvin Keoni.
Tempe Mortuary was in charge of arrangements.
Joe Lee Yazzie
FORT DEFIANCE — A private service for Joe Lee Yazzie, 85, was held at the Fort Defiance Navajo Veterans Cemetery.
Joe was born June 22, 1935, in Fort Defiance, to Catherine and Fritz Yazzie Jr. His clans were Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water) and paternal clan is Tł’ízí lání (Many Goats). His maternal grandfather was Honágháahnii (One-walks-around) and paternal grandfather was ‘Áshįįhí (Salt People). He passed away Feb. 18, 2021, in St. Michaels, Arizona, with family by his side.
Joe attended Intermountain Indian School in Utah, and then served in the U.S. Army at Fort DeRussy in Waikiki, Hawaii, and Fort Lewis, Washington. In 1962, he was honorably discharged and lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, for a short time before returning home to St. Michaels.
In the spring of 1967, Joe suffered a life-changing spinal injury on the job at McKinley Coal Mine and was confined to a wheelchair.
Joe served his community as president of the St. Michaels Chapter House and in numerous roles over the years. He never missed a chapter meeting.
Joe contributed in establishing Saint Michaels Association for Special Education with Sister Marijane Ryan. He worked as a welder, machinist, rehabilitation counselor, substitute teacher, and was a trained draftsman.
Inspired by his younger brothers, Joe obtained his higher education later in life, completing his bachelor and master’s degrees at Arizona State University and University of New Mexico, respectively. He retired from his position with the DODE Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services in 2004.
A constant advocate for the Diné people, especially children and those with disabilities, Joe petitioned for, was granted, and oversaw the installation of accommodations for people with disabilities. He secured lasting policy change for accessible ramps, elevators, and sidewalks for all public and tribal buildings on the Navajo Nation. The next time you walk on a sidewalk at the fairgrounds, tribal offices, and even Bashas’, it was because of Joe.
Joe never stopped working. He did his own repairs, plumbing, and even working under his car. He firmly believed the answers to modern societal issues could be solved through our Diné cultural ways. He was also a parishioner of St. Michaels Mission.
Joe is survived by his son, Lemont Yazzie; daughter in-law, Michelle Johnson Yazzie; daughter, Lillian Yazzie Nez; and eight grandchildren.
Joe is also survived by two sisters, four brothers, and seven great-grandchildren whom he loved dearly.
Joe is preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Kenneth Yazzie and Raymond Leigh Yazzie; and grandson, Monte Hunter Yazzie, whom he affectionately called “Early Bird.”
It is a comfort to the family that our beloved protector will be laid to rest close to his younger brother, Raymond Leigh Yazzie.
Due to precautions during this pandemic, a memorial will take place at a later time. The family is grateful for your understanding in taking precautionary measures for everyone’s health and safety.
Russell W. Hillis Sr.
PHOENIX — Graveside service for Russell W. Hillis Sr., 67, of Fort Defiance, was held Feb. 23 at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in Phoenix.
Russell was born Aug. 5, 1953, in Fort Defiance, into the Honágháahnii (One-walks-around Clan), born for Kiyaa’áanii (Towering House Clan). He passed away Feb. 5, 2021, in Phoenix.
Russell graduated from Window Rock High School in 1971 and from Northern Arizona University in 1981. He spent many years in the U.S. military, serving both in the Army and Air Force. He received honorable discharges from serving his country.
Russell was an avid sports watcher and crossword puzzle solver extraordinaire.
Russell is survived by his sons, Russell Hillis Jr. and Christopher Hillis; mother, Katherine Hillis; brothers, Carl Hillis and Mervyn Hillis; sisters, Alberta Scarcella and Lydia Bennett; and granddaughters, Isabelle Hillis and Lilly Hillis.
Russell is preceded in death by his father, Carl Hillis Sr.; and brothers, Allen Hillis, Lowell Hillis and Clyde Hillis.
Lowmans Arizona Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Emerson T. Begaye
HOUCK, Ariz. — Graveside service for Emerson T. Begaye, 57, of Sanders, Arizona, was held Feb. 13 at the family land in Houck, Arizona, with Ben J. Sam officiating.
Emerson was born Aug. 25, 1963, in Gallup, into the Naasht’ézhí dine’é Táchii’nii (Zuni/Red Running Into the Water People Clan), born for Dibélzhíní (Black Sheep Clan). He passed away Jan. 27, 2021, in Sanders.
Emerson attended Fort Wingate High School and worked as an ironworker in various mines. He enjoyed hauling wood, fishing, grilling, traveling, and spending quality time with his wife Clara.
Emerson is survived by his wife, Clara Spean Begaye; sons, Randolph A. Williams and Cyril E. Begaye; daughters, Roxanna E. Begaye, Ralphenia S. Begaye, Melinda Spean-Austin, and Rhonda Williams-Harney; sister, Marilyn Begay; and six grandchildren.
Emerson is preceded in death by his mother, Alice Marie Tsosie; father, Sam Begay; sister, Grace Begay; and Adrian Thompson and Tom Peter Tsosie.
Pallbearers were Cedric Larry, Cyril E. Begaye, Nathan K. Gordon, Jarod A. Gordon, and Wayne Spean.
Honorary pallbearers are Jeremy Moore, Derrick Martin, Darryl Begaye, Amelio Matt, Mario E. Gordon, Virgil Vandever, Felix Begaye, and Ralphelia S. Begaye.
Cope Memorial was in charge of arrangements.
BUFFALO SPRINGS, N.M. — Graveside service for Harrison Nez, 57, of Buffalo Springs, New Mexico, will take place Thursday, March 4, at 11 a.m., in Buffalo Springs, with Father Dale Jamison officiating.
Harrison was born June 13, 1963, at the Gallup Indian Medical Center in Gallup, into the Táchii’nii (Red Running Into the Water People Clan), born for Kiyaa’áanii (Towering House Clan). He passed away Feb. 18, 2021, in Gallup.
Harrison graduated from Tohatchi High School and earned an associate’s degree in building construction. He worked for Navajo Forest Products, Murphy Builders, Inc., City of Gallup, and various construction companies in Albuquerque and Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Harrison enjoyed working on small projects (cabinets, patios, etc.) and had a great love for animals.
Harrison is survived by his son, Michael Nez of Santa Clara, New Mexico; daughters, Natasha Nez of Santa Clara, and Melissa Nez of Cresco, Iowa; brother, Morgan Nez Jr. of Sawmill, Arizona; sisters, Virginia Nez Burbank, Arlene Bia and Orlinda Nez, all of Buffalo Springs; and grandson, Michael Nez-Hernandez.
Harrison is preceded in death by his parents, Martha and Morgan Nez Sr.; and brothers, Ernnesin Nez and Melvin Nez.
Pallbearers will be Geoffrey Bia, Gerald Bia, Randall Bia, Ryan Bia, William Bia III, and Tyson Ramone.
Honorary pallbearers are Ira Burbank, Krystin Logg, Derrick Nez, and Morgan Nez Jr.
A drive-thru reception will take place at Arlene Bia’s residence in Buffalo Springs, following service.
Rollie Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.
Stanley Davis Dodson
KAIBETO, Ariz. — Graveside service for Stanley Davis Dodson, 64, of Kaibeto, Arizona, will be held Saturday, Feb. 27, at 1 p.m., at the family plot in Kaibeto.
Stanley was born March 29, 1956, in Kaibeto, into the Tábąąhá (Water’s Edge Clan), born for Táchii’nii (Red Running Into the Water People Clan). His nalí is Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water); cheii is Tł’ízí lání (Many Goats Clan). He passed away Feb. 21, 2021, in Flagstaff.
Stanley graduated from Coconino High School and was employed at Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation.
Stanley is survived by his child, Loren Dodson; and siblings, Ralph Dodson, John Dodson Jr., Lillie Dodson, Rose Dodson, Gloria Bigman, and Cecilia Addaikai.
Stanley is preceded in death by his parents, Ella and John Dodson Sr.; brother, Beryle Dodson; and sister, Shirley Benally.
Tuba City Valley Ridge Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.
Davis Steven Manuelito
NEWCOMB, N.M. — Funeral service for Davis Steven Manuelito, 83, of Newcomb, New Mexico, is pending.
Davis was born March 5, 1937, in Newcomb. He passed away Feb. 18, 2021, in Shiprock.
Davis is in the care of Desert View Funeral Home in Shiprock.
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