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Obituaries for May 27, 2021

Wilma Boehms Cake

Wilma Boehms Cake

WINSLOW, Ariz. — Funeral services for Wilma Boehms Cake, of Mesa, Arizona, formerly of Winslow, Arizona, will be held Saturday, May 29, at 11 a.m., at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Winslow. Visitation will take place one hour prior to service at 10 a.m. Burial will follow at the Desert View Cemetery.

Wilma passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her loving family on May 22, 2021.

Wilma was born Jan. 18, 1931, in Farmer’s Exchange Community, Hickman County, Tennessee. Soon after she was born, the family moved to Jones Valley where she attended the schools of Jones Valley, Shady Grove, and graduated from Hickman County High School in Centerville, Tennessee.

On Feb. 26, 1952, Wilma married Howard Cake in Nashville, Tennessee, where she worked for National Life Insurance Company. Howard was stationed at Stewart Air Force Base (1941-1971), which was located near Nashville. Following his discharge, they moved to his hometown of Winslow, where they joined his parents in the family’s automobile business, Cake Chevrolet Inc.

Wilma’s greatest strength was her dedication to her family. She was a loving mother and devoted wife, spending her time assisting with running the dealership and raising her children. She also made great effort to stay in close touch with her Tennessee family. These were special times for her six siblings and their families when they would gather and share moments together.

Wilma was unselfish, generous, loving, bright, kind, and a bit rebellious. Her impact will forever remain in the lives of every person who knew her.

Aside from her devotion to family and the business, Wilma was an active member of the community. She was involved in various organizations around town, including the Winslow Junior Women’s Club, in which she was elected president and eventually accepted an award in Washington, D.C., for her involvement in the National Community Improvement Project. She spent her spare time reading, drinking wine, and enjoying her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Wilma leaves behind her loving children, including Harvey, Peter (Debbie), and Michelle (Frank III). Her 16 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren will dearly miss their Mimi but will cherish her memory forever.

Wilma is preceded in death by many dear to her heart, including her parents, Herschel Holmes Boehms and Mary Jane (née Nichols); sisters, Jane Smith and Evelyn Norton; husband, Howard Morrison Cake; sons, Ralph Herschel Cake and James Barry Cake; and children, Maria and George, who tragically passed during infancy.

Memorial donations can be made to the Sacred Heart Southern Missions, 6050 Highway 161, Walls, MS 38686. More information can be found at

Eleanor Marie Smith

ALBUQUERQUE — Eleanor Marie Smith, 89, peacefully entered the spirit world in her Albuquerque home on May 16.

In spite of her diminishing health, Eleanor embraced life and wanted to remain in her home close to family, relatives and friends albeit the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eleanor was born Nov. 27, 1931, on the Navajo Reservation at the Chinle Indian Health Service hospital. She was born into the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, born for Táchii’nii (Red Running Into the Water People Clan). She was the daughter of Anselm G. Davis Sr., Navajo, from Lukachukai, Arizona, and Aileen Ben Davis, Choctaw, from Standing Pine, Mississippi.

Accordingly, Eleanor was half Navajo and half Choctaw, and was enrolled as a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. She was married to Robert L. Smith who was of the Laguna Tribe and who precedes her in death.

Eleanor was the mother of one son, Lawrence Eric Smith, who resides in Yucaipa, California, with his wife Teddie and daughters, Lisa and Sharlene, and son Stephen.

Having graduated from Gallup High School, Eleanor became a registered nurse after completing her course work at a school of nursing in Louisville, Kentucky.

Eleanor, who was a member of the New Mexico Indian Nurses Association, thoroughly enjoyed working with the Lovelace Medical Center staff and later in the Ears, Nose and Throat office of Dr. Ronald J. Escudero before deciding to retire.

In 1968, Eleanor started running to lose weight. Eventually she was able to run three miles in 30 minutes and continued running three miles at a 10-minute per mile pace in numerous races. When she turned 50 years old, she decided to run her first 10K by entering the Las Mujeves De La Luz 10K, which she ran in 44 minutes and 57 seconds. She also began running half and full marathons, which included the Pikes Peak 14-mile Accent Run, Tour of Albuquerque Marathon, Duke City Marathon, and New Mexico’s most famous trail-running race — the La Luz Trail Run.

As Eleanor increased the mileage and the number of races, her husband died unexpectedly of a cerebral hemorrhage. Two months later her father died in an auto accident.

Eleanor discovered that through running she could release some of her grief. “Running keeps me in touch with mother earth and father sky. I get my strength, peace, and renewal of body, mind and spirit through mountain running. To me running is praying.”

Eleanor continued to run numerous races, including the Avon Women’s International Marathon and the Sandia Wilderness Crossing, a 28.5-mile run across the length of the Albuquerque Sandia Mountains. This was a 10-year research run for high altitude endurance runners. She ran this research run for eight years and was the only 50-plus women research runner. She was a proud member of the Al Waquie United Indian Runners.

On Aug. 19, 1991, Eleanor received an honorary award from the Earth Circle Foundation for spirit, strength and commitment to Native American runners. The number of trophies that filled shelves in her bedroom attests to her comment to running and to the joy she experienced while running.

Eleanor was a member of Albuquerque’s Queen of Angels Catholic Church. She was an active member of the Kateri Tekakwitha Circle, whose members worked diligently for the canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha. She traveled to Rome, Italy, to witness Kateri Tekakwitha being canonized as the first Native American saint on Oct. 21, 2012. She was also in Rome on Oct. 1, 2000, for the canonization of Katharine Drexel, founder of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People.

Eleanor traveled to Rome with Sister Gloria, her younger sister, who was the first Native American to enter into the order of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in 1952.

Eleanor was well known in the Albuquerque powwow circle where she enjoyed the companionship of powwow dancers and spectators. She especially enjoyed participating in the gourd dances.

Eleanor was the second oldest child of the 10 children Davis family. Pearl Ethel Nelson (deceased) was the oldest followed by younger siblings, Sister Gloria Ann Davis, S.B.S (deceased), Rose B. Leyba, Loretta Ann Chavez (deceased), Dr. Anselm G. Davis Jr., Ralph Ulysses Davis, William Paul Davis, Patricia Ann Davis, and Robert Michael Davis.

Eleanor is also survived by Mae Begay.

Eleanor is preceded in death by Anselm K. Davis, Michael Davis and George Davis from her father’s second marriage.

Although Eleanor endured a number of health setbacks later in life, she bore its difficulties with grace and dignity while waiting for her creator to embrace her soul in the spirit world.

Eleanor will be remembered by family, relatives, and her many friends for her zest for life, her generosity, and for being a kind and loving person. She touched the lives of so many adults and children in so many ways.

Eleanor will be buried at the Santa Fe National Cemetery with her husband, Robert L. Smith, who was an Air Force veteran.

Gilbert Francis

Gilbert Francis

KIRTLAND, N.M. — Funeral services for Gilbert Francis, 73, of Shiprock, will be held today, May 27, at 9 a.m., at Cope Memorial Chapel in Kirtland, New Mexico. Burial will follow at the Shiprock cemetery.

Gilbert was born Nov. 6, 1947, in Cortez, Colorado, into the Táchii’nii (Red Running Into the Water People Clan), born for Kiyaa’áanii (Towering House Clan). His nalí is Naakai dine’é (Mexican); cheii is Hooghan Łání (Many Hogans). He passed away May 21, 2021, in Albuquerque.

Gilbert attended Ignacio Boarding School and Navajo Community College. He worked for APS, Navajo Mine, and Northern Navajo Medical Center for 20 years.

Gilbert enjoyed cars, fishing, iPad games, and spending time with his wife, daughter, family, and friends. He was a member of the Native American Church and a San Francisco 49ers fan.

Gilbert is survived by his wife, Maryann Francis; daughter, Joy Jean Francis; siblings, Norma Pete, Ruthie Francis, Eleanor Jones, and Dashey Francis; and 55 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Gilbert is preceded in death by his mother, Patty Jean Francis; father, Alfred Francis Sr.; and siblings, Charles Herbert Francis, Leonard Francis, Larry Francis, and Joy Jean Francis.

Pallbearers will be Shawndell Upshaw, Derrick Clark, Roydale Pete, Shaydale Pete, Lyle Francis, Marvin Nakai, Craig Begay, Richard Begay Jr., Ty Hunt, and Byron Francis.

Honorary pallbearers will be Harrison Lee, Harrison Dick, Hoskie Benally Jr., Dashey Francis, Thomas Jones, Kenneth Atcitty, Richard Begay Sr., David Lee, Gilbert Benally, Paul Lee, Sonny Pete, and Raymond Nolan.

A drive-thru reception will take place at Maryann and Gilbert’s residence in Shiprock, following services.

Cope Memorial is in charge of arrangements.

Freddy Wood Sr.

Freddy Wood Sr.

GALLUP — Graveside service for Freddy Wood Sr., 44, of Sawmill, Arizona, was held May 25 at the Gallup City Cemetery with Frankie Wood officiating.

Freddy was born Nov. 8, 1976, in Fort Defiance, into the Tó’áhaní (Near the Water Clan), born for Yoo’ó dine’é (Bead People Clan). He passed away May 19, 2021, in Albuquerque.

Freddy attended Window Rock High School and was employed as a mechanic and carpenter. He loved listening to music and was a Raiders fan.

Freddy is survived by his son, Freddy Wood Jr.; daughters, Krecynthia Wood, Kasandra Wood, Vanessa Renee Wood, and Kaydence Hailey Wood; father, Frankie Wood; brothers, Franklin Wood, Daniel Wood, Donald Wood, Derrick Wood, Derwin Wood, Adrian Wood, Nathaniel Wood, and Kendric Wood; and sisters, Kathlene and Carolyn.

Freddy is preceded in death by his mother, Caroline Wood; sister, Sharon Wood; and brother, Frank Wood.

Silver Creek Mortuary was in charge of arrangements.

Lyssa Rose Upshaw

FORT DEFIANCE — Funeral services for Lyssa Rose Upshaw, 13, of Fort Defiance, were held May 25 at the Assembly of God Church in Fort Defiance, with Pastor James Bennett Jr. officiating. Interment followed at the Rainbow Ridge family plot in Fort Defiance.

Lyssa was born July 16, 2007, at the Tséhootsooí Medical Center in Fort Defiance, into the Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water Clan), born for Naakai dine’é (Mexican Clan). She passed away May 16, 2021, in Fort Defiance.

Lyssa was going to be promoted from the 8th grade on May 27, 2021, from Tséhootsooí Middle School. She loved drawing, jogging, going on walks, fishing, riding bikes, and spending time with her brothers.

Lyssa is survived by her mother, Marissa Rose Jones; brothers, Kenneth E.M. Long and Evan David Upshaw; and grandparents, Karl Atcitty Sr., Mike Jones and Marilyn Mark.

Lyssa is preceded in death by her father, Scott David Upshaw; uncle, Karl Atcitty Jr.; and grandmother, Dylane R. Begay.

Pallbearers were Kenneth Long, Evan Upshaw, Amos Mark, Modrian Chase, Ryan Begay, Everytt Begay Jr., Ronnie Cone, and Raul Charbonier.

Honorary pallbearers were Karl Atcitty Sr., Mike Jones, Everytt Begay Sr., Danny Atcitty, Daryl Begay, Danielle Jones, and Lyle Jackson.

Silver Creek Mortuary was in charge of arrangements.

Mary Ann Black

KAYENTA — Graveside service for Mary Ann Black, 76, of Kayenta, was held May 21 at the Kayenta community cemetery.

Mary was born Oct. 21, 1944, in Kayenta. She passed from this life May 14, 2021, in Farmington, New Mexico.

Desert View Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Melissa Renee Aragon

FORT DEFIANCE — Graveside service for Melissa Renee Aragon, 44, of Fort Defiance, will be held Friday, May 28, at 1 p.m., at the Fort Defiance cemetery.

Melissa was born May 9, 1977, in Fort Defiance. She passed away May 12, 2021, in Fort Defiance.

Melissa is survived by her son, Nicholas Craig; daughters, Tenee and Megan Craig; parents, Michelle Bowman and David Aragon; and sisters, Cynthia, Amber, Catherine, Grace, and Clarissa Aragon.

Pallbearers will be William Craig, Alerin Craig, Aaron Yazzie, Alec Yazzie, Eric Silago, and Nicholas Singer.

Silver Creek Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

Olin Dean Watchman

FORT DEFIANCE — Graveside service for Olin Dean Watchman, of Fort Defiance, was held May 24 at the Tunnel Springs family plot in Fort Defiance, with Pastor Daniel Gamill officiating.

Olin was born Sept. 12, 1975, in Fort Defiance, into the Hashtl’ishnii (Mud Clan), born for Mą’ii deeshgiizhinii (Coyote Pass Clan). He passed away May 12, 2021, in Fort Defiance.

Olin attended Navajo Elementary School and Window Rock High School. He was self-employed and worked for the Navajo Nation Forestry.

Olin enjoyed helping people and caring for his grandmothers and animals, as well as fishing with his cousins.

Olin is survived by his mother, Julie Ann Clarke; and grandmothers, Nellie Laughing and Julie H. Price.

Olin is preceded in death by Ernest Watchman, Vay Marie Fuson, Esther Watchman, and Charley Watchman.

Pallbearers were Loren Begay, Julian Laughlin Jr., Ron Blackgoat, Fabian Cromwell, Leo Showie Jr., and Alan Watchman.

Silver Creek Mortuary was in charge of arrangements.

The Navajo Times publishes obituaries free of charge as a public service. If you have an obituary you would like to submit, follow this link to the online submission form. We look forward to serving you.


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