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Obituaries for May 21, 2020

Elsie H. Yazzie


Elsie H. Yazzie

GALLUP — Service for Elsie H. Yazzie, 81, is pending.

Elsie was born Sept. 7, 1938, in Gallup, into the Kiyaa’áanii (Towering House Clan), born for Haltsooí (Meadow People Clan). She passed away May 14, 2020, in Gallup.

Elsie was a homemaker who enjoyed fishing, making crafts, silversmith work and being outdoors.

Elsie is survived by her sons, Leroy Yazzie of Red Mesa, Arizona, and Joe Yazzie Jr. of Gallup; DeAnn Yazzie of Gallup; Harrison Yazzie of Gallup; sisters, Marilyn Yazzie, Louise Hoskie, Ruth Hoskie and Elizabeth Descheenie; and brother, Herman Hoskie.

Rollie Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

Donald M. Tolino Sr.

Donald M. Tolino Sr.

SANTA FE — Donald M. Tolino Sr., beloved father, grandfather, brother, and family member, died May 5, 2020, in Albuquerque. He was born Sept. 14, 1950, in Rehoboth, New Mexico, into the ‘Áshįįhí (Salt People Clan), born for Tó’áhaní (Near the Water) Clan.

Donald spent his childhood in Coyote Canyon, New Mexico, with his grandparents, Helen and Edward McCabe Sr. He attended boarding school in Coyote Canyon and Twin Lakes, New Mexico. He graduated from Navajo Methodist Mission (now Navajo Preparatory School) in Farmington, New Mexico, in 1971.

Donald was a member of the football team that defeated the Roy High Giants, 30-6, for the school’s first and only state title in Class C, also in 1968. He had many good memories and good times with his classmates from the Class of ’71.

Donald was a U.S. Army veteran who served with the 82 nd Airborne Division during the Vietnam War. He received numerous decorations and awards for valor. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1974 and returned to the Navajo Nation to begin his career with El Paso Natural Gas Company in Montezuma Creek, Utah.

Donald was a member of the Black Creek Gourd Society (Fort Defiance) and One Nation Gourd Society (Shiprock). He traveled extensively to volunteer his time as master of ceremonies for various gourd dance events and powwows as he found them most sacred.

Donald was a board member and helped to organize the annual Na’Nizhoozhi Center (NCI) New Year’s Eve Sobriety Gourd Dance and Powwow, the largest sobriety event in the region.

Although Donald encountered several adverse situations in his life, he always found ways to overcome them. He deeply believed in the principles he represented and fought for, and had such respect for family, community, nation and for those who came before him.

Donald always saw the best in everyone, never complained and was an incredibly thoughtful and generous person. He was always ready to give advice or to lend a helping hand to anyone who might need it.

Donald had a quick wit and a tremendous sense of humor. He would converse with anyone about anything, as he was interested in many things.

Those who knew “Don” or “Donnie” found him to be the most positive and inspirational person on the planet. He had many great friends that were a very important part of his life and his family is truly grateful for them.

Donald is survived by his children, Amanda J. Tolino and Thomas Tolino of Kirtland, New Mexico, and Donna Tolino, Diane Tolino and Donald Tolino Jr. of Gallup; sister, Beverly Tolino Jefferson; brother, Damian Tolino; and five grandchildren.

Donald is preceded in death by his parents, Alice Tolino-Mariner and Kee Tolino; siblings, Lawrence Tolino, Leonard Tolino, Adeline Tolino Denetdeel and Jeri Tolino Stivers; maternal grandparents, Helen Begay-McCabe and Edward McCabe Sr.; and paternal grandparents, Ke’i’Bah and Kee H. Tolino.

Donald was interred at the Santa Fe National Cemetery on Monday, May 18.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a public memorial service will be held at a later date.

Frank Allison Sr.

Frank Allison Sr.

TOHATCHI, N.M. — Frank Allison Sr., 87, was laid to rest on May 18 in a private ceremony in Tohatchi, New Mexico.

Frank was born Feb. 21, 1933, in Tohatchi. He entered Heaven on May 10, 2020, in Farmington, with family by his side.

After graduating from Fort Wingate High School, Frank was drafted into the United States Army during the Korean War from 1953 to 1955, serving as an Army paratrooper. He re-enlisted into the United States Air Force from 1956 to 1962, serving as an Airman Third Class, airplane mechanic, working on B-52 bomber planes.

After being honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1962, Frank married his lovely wife, Nancy Allison, and began his 34-year career working for the Bureau of Indian Affairs as an electrician until he retired in 1996.

Known to all of us as Papa Frank, he often told stories of his military career as a paratrooper and airplane mechanic working on B-52s, was a third generation descendant of Chief Manuelito, member of Tohatchi Veterans Organization and received many honors for his exemplary military and government service.

Frank would often be seen reading the newspaper, loved drinking hot coffee (even in the hot summer months), loved watching (literally) every sport, and especially loved his grandchildren with all his heart and often expressed being very proud of them all.

Frank will be remembered as a loving husband, father, the best grandfather, brother, U.S. Army veteran, U.S. Air Force veteran, and most of all, a born-again Christian and servant of God.

Frank is survived by his wife of 57 years, Nancy Allison; children, Frankie Allison Jr., Jonathan Allison and Ronald Allison; brother, James Allison; sister, Lorraine Silversmith; and eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Frank is preceded in death by his parents, John and Lillian Allison; Katherine Sherman, Ben Thomas, Geneva Benally and Rita Allison; son, Clarence Allison; and granddaughter, Chelsea Allison.

Until we meet again, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord” — Matthew 25:21.

Bernie Leo Hastings

Bernie Leo Hastings

SECOND MESA, Ariz. — Service for Bernie Leo Hastings, 93, is currently pending.

Bernie was born Oct. 26, 1926, in Mishongnovi Village in Second Mesa, Arizona. He passed away May 12, 2020, in Gallup.

Bernie worked various jobs throughout his life. He worked as a pastor, truck driver, mechanic, baker, and maintenance and construction worker.

Bernie enjoyed talking and being around his family. He had many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren that he loved dearly.

Bernie is survived by his sons, Ray Hastings of Shiprock, Durwin Hastings of Gallup, and William Hastings of Phoenix; daughters, Bertha Franco of Farmington, Diana Stigar of Crystal, New Mexico, Norma Nelson of Tse Bonito, New Mexico, Vera Murphy of Church Rock, New Mexico, and Esther Cometsevah of Gallup; brother, Willie Wallace Hyeoma; and 32 grandchildren, 60 great-grandchildren and 14 great-great-grandchildren.

Bernie is preceded in death by his infant daughter, Bernice Hastings; son, David Hastings; father, Hastings Humiwaitewa; mother, Edna Humiwaitewa; brothers, Calvin Hastings and Lucious Hyeoma; sisters, Alice Hilda Nahpi, Elva Haney Pena and Lydia Mansfield; and grandfather, Bruce Nuvanginewa.

Funeral services will be determined at a later date due to COVID-19.

Marie B. Yazza

Marie B. Yazza

ROCK SPRINGS, N.M. — Graveside service for Marie B. Yazza, 90, of Tohlakai, New Mexico, will be held Tuesday, May 26, at 10 a.m. at the Green Meadows Family Cemetery in Rock Springs, New Mexico, with Ben R. Yazza and Leon Long officiating.

Marie was born June 20, 1929, in Tohlakai, into the Naaneesht’ézhi Táchii’nii (Charcoal Streaked Division of the Red Running Into the Water Clan), born for Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water Clan). She passed away May 16, 2020, in Gallup.

Marie was a homemaker and prayer warrior. She enjoyed sewing, beading, weaving, reading the Bible daily, preaching the word of God, attending church socials and spending time with her children and grandchildren.

Marie is survived by her sons, Ben R. Yazza, Bill R. Yazza, Bernie R. Yazza and Barton R. Yazza; daughters, Bernice Yazza-Jakes and Beatrice R. Byrum; and 23 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren.

Marie is preceded in death by her daughter, Mariah; sons, Bruce R. Yazza and Barry M. Yazza; brothers, Howard Begay, Coolidge Begay, Notah Smith and Clarence Cleveland; and sisters, Edith C. Watson, Nellie Orllie, Sarah B. Long and Ruby Begaye.

Pallbearers will be Ben R. Yazza, Bill R. Yazza, Bernie R. Yazza, Barton R. Yazza, Scott L. Sherman and Paul Byrum Jr.

A reception will take place at a later date.

Rollie Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

Jennifer E. Tayah

Jennifer E. Tayah

CHINLE — Graveside service for Jennifer E. Tayah, 52, of Chinle, will be held Friday, May 22, at 10 a.m. at the Chinle community cemetery with Pastor Artie Aragon officiating.

Jennifer was born March 19, 1968, in Ganado, Arizona, into the Tsénjíkiní (Honey Combed Rock People Clan), born for Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water Clan). She passed away May 16, 2020, in Chinle.

Jennifer attended Chinle High School in the 1980s and was a Wildcat cross-country runner. She worked as a cook and sold homemade food. She enjoyed beading, making jewelry, cooking, and spending time with her family and grandchildren.

Jennifer is survived by her sons, Brandon Tayah and Derek Tayah; daughters, Devina Tayah and Amber Tayah; mother, Evelyn Tom Haag; brothers, Pete Tayah and Web Tayah; sister, Carly Nez; and grandsons, Justin and Christopher Benally.

Jennifer is preceded in death by Craig Tayah, Robert Tayah Sr., Christen Tayah and Julius Pinto.

Pallbearers will be Aaron Francis, Tony Benally, Vaughon Nez, Delphina Shirley and members of the Chinle Potters House.

Due to current events, there will be no reception.

Summit Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Gail Yvonne Stewart

GLENDALE, Ariz. — A memorial Celebration of Life for Gail Yvonne Stewart, 80, of Many Farms, Arizona, will be held Saturday, May 23, at 10 a.m. at the Glendale Potters House in Glendale, Arizona, with Pastor Andy Cota officiating.

Gail was born March 25, 1940, in Many Farms, into the Tl’ááshchí’í (Red Bottom People Clan), born for Kiyaa’áanii (Towering House Clan). She passed away May 14, 2020, in Glendale.

Gail attended Fort Sill Boarding School in Lawton, Oklahoma, and Flagstaff High School. She was employed as a construction secretary from 1959 to 1986, library aide in the Window Rock School District, teacher aide and tutor in the Flagstaff Unified School District, and residential aide at Tuba City Boarding School.

Gail was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and dedicated caretaker to her family and friends. She was full of life, happy, a hard worker, and had a big heart. Her life was a testimony of the word of God and His promises.

Gail is survived by her son, Travis Stewart; daughters, Victoria Stewart, Starlena Stewart, Felipita Kenneth and Leslie Morales; brothers, Robert Begay, Andy Begay and Junior Begay; sisters, Jane Etsitty, Arlene Gorman and Consita Begay; and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Gail is preceded in death by her husband, parents, stepmother, two sons, one sister, and eight brothers.

A reception will take place at the Glendale Potters House, following service.

A live stream of the service will be available. Please contact the family at 623-444-6076 or

Keith S. Teller

DEL MUERTO, Ariz. — Graveside service for Keith S. Teller, 70, will be held Friday, May 22, at 11 a.m. at the Del Muerto cemetery in Del Muerto, Arizona.

Keith was born Jan. 1, 1950, in Del Muerto, into the Tábaahá (Water’s Edge Clan), born for Ma’ii deeshgiizhinii (Coyote Pass Clan). Chei is ‘Áshiihí (Salt People). He passed away May 12, 2020.

Keith graduated from Mesa High School and attended higher education at Diné College, Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, Northern Arizona University, and International Technical School in Mesa.

Keith worked as a Navajo Police officer, bus driver for Ganado Unified School District and a certified electrician/plumber.

Keith loved fishing, being outdoors, watching NFL football and his Denver Broncos. He enjoyed playing cards, making traditional Navajo moccasins, fixing electronic devices, singing traditional songs, drawing and playing chess.

Keith is survived by his spouse, Rose A. Noble; daughters, Charlotte Hadley, Lynna Teller and Keithetta Teller; sons, Donald Noble Jr. and Donavon Teller; sisters, Susie Cushen, Rose Thompson, Larisa Teller, Pauline Johnson and Louise Iyua; brothers, George Teller and John C. Teller; and 18 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Keith is preceded in death by his mother, Mary S. Teller; and father, Guy Yazzie Teller.

Pallbearers will be Isiah D. Hadley, Seth Hadley, Xavier Hadley, Wade Noble, Donald Noble III and Damon Yazzie.

Jimmie Sam

REHOBOTH, N.M. — Graveside service for Jimmie Sam, 71, of Rehoboth, New Mexico, will be held today, May 21, at 10 a.m. at the Rehoboth cemetery.

Jimmie was born April 10, 1949, in Coyote Canyon, New Mexico, into the Bit’ahnii (Under His Cover Clan), born for Haltsooí (Meadow People Clan). He passed away May 15, 2020, in Sundance, New Mexico.

Jimmie attended Fort Wingate High School and served in the military as a private (E-1) in 1969. He retired as a ranchman and was involved in the Native American Church and Yé’ii Bi Chei.

Jimmie is survived by his sons, Ronald Sam, Melvin Willis and Elvin Willis; daughters, Diana Manuelito and Sheila Calabaza; sisters, Louise Hanna and Betty Sam; and 16 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Jimmie is preceded in death by his wife, Elsie J. Sam; son, Don Sam; parents, Charley and Betty Bah Sam; and brothers, Billy Sam, Willie Sam, Benjamin Sam and Bobby Sam.

Honorary pallbearer will be Ronald Sam.

There will be no reception, due to COVID-19.

Rollie Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

Betty Stewart

FORT DEFIANCE — Graveside service for Betty Stewart, 64, of Fort Defiance, were held May 16 at the Fort Defiance community cemetery with Martin Haven officiating.

Betty was born June 6, 1955, in Wide Ruins, Arizona, into the Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water Clan), born for Tsénjíkiní (Honey Combed Rock People Clan). She passed away May 11, 2020, in Albuquerque.

Betty attended Chuska Boarding School and enjoyed spending time with her family.

Betty is survived by her sons, Timothy Toney, David Toney and Nolan Stewart; daughters, Colleen Hoskie and Teresa Stewart; brother, Robert Toney; sister, Nancy Smith; and 13 grandchildren.

Betty is preceded in death by Jimmie Stewart Sr. and Freeman Stewart.

Pallbearers were Nolan Stewart, Timothy Toney, Tieron Johnson, Elroy Hoskie, Tyrone Brown and Lionel Dawes.

Silver Creek Mortuary was in charge of arrangements.

Melvin Charley

SHEEP SPRINGS, N.M. — Graveside service for Melvin Charley, 45, were held May 16 at the Sheep Springs cemetery in Sheep Springs, New Mexico.

Melvin was born Jan. 6, 1975, at Gallup Indian Medical Center in Gallup, into the ‘Áshiihí (Salt People Clan), born for Kiyaa’áanii (Towering House Clan). His nali is Dziltl’ahnii (Mountain Cove); chei is Haltsooí (Meadow People). He passed away May 12, 2020, at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.

Melvin attended Newcomb High School. He is survived by his son, Corey Damian Charley; father, Johnny Charley; brothers, Michael Charley, Marvin Charley, Roland Burnell and Anthony Mike; and sisters, Marlinda Charley and Stephanita Charley.

Pallbearers were Jason Gould, Jerald Gould, Christopher Florence Jr., Michael Charley, Tyrell Lewis and Roland Burnell.

Rollie Mortuary was in charge of arrangements.

Kenneth Smith

WARM SPRINGS, Ore. — Kenneth Smith, grandson, son, father, brother, and tribal leader, grew up on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation into a family that struggled to make a living in the early 1950s and was raised by his grandparents on their ranch. His grandparents taught him to respect the culture of the Wasco people, protect the tribal lands, tribal people and their immemorial sovereign rights.

Kenneth graduated from Madras High School and went on as the first member of the family to graduate from the University of Oregon. He was recently recognized by the University of Oregon as one of the 100 most distinguished graduates in their history.

Returning to work in the Warm Springs tribal government, Kenneth was instrumental in the economic success of the reservation when he hired the CH2M engineering firm to complete a 20-year comprehensive plan for the development of the Warm Springs Reservation. Major businesses were developed using the reservation lands, destinations resorts, timber mill acquisition, financial investments of tribal funds, and general development of tribal government departments. Tribal jobs were created, sustaining revenue created and social programs for the tribal community. He introduced the use of tribal municipal financial bonds to finance the many developments under the 20-year comprehensive plan.

President Ronald Reagan recognized Kenneth’s management ability to develop tribal communities and nominated him to become the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs within the U.S. Department of Interior, where he was unanimously approved by the U.S. Congress.

During his tenure, the implementation of National Indian Gaming and Regulatory Act was one of his major responsibilities. It resulted in the largest business and job creation in the history of U.S. Indian tribes. The government-to-government relationship between states and tribes became a working public policy within the United States. Respect for tribal sovereignty became a reality.

Kenneth returned to the Warm Springs Reservation to his home along the Deschutes River to retire and live in his place with people he loved.

In his speech at Madras High graduation, Kenneth told the audience, “Honor to those who started in small communities to rise to success because their journey was difficult.”


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