May 292013

Thomas Yellowhair passed peacefully with his wife and daughter by his side on Thursday night, May 23, 2013, in Holbrook. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 30, at Faith Assembly of God Church in Holbrook. Interment will follow at Holbrook City Cemetery.
He was born in Na-ah-tee Canyon to Mary Belin and Manyhorse Belin. He was given the name Yellowhair from employment. Since he didn’t know his English name, the employer gave him Yellowhair as last name, since his hair was light brown. His clan was Ta’chii’nii Naashizhi born for Kin’yaa’anii.
He was 93 years old, but records show 90. He changed the year of his birth so he could work longer for the Santa Fe Railroad.
He was drafted for World War II at age 18, but he was not accepted because he did not understand and speak English. He was told to work and earn retirement which he did.
His first job was at the Na-ah-tee Canyon Trading Post, where he met his wife Irene Yazzie-Yellowhair and married traditional in 1953. He gave Irene free ice cream when she came to the trading post. Together they had five children and adopted four of Irene’s children. He worked for Santa Fe Railroad for 40 years and retired in 1989. He traveled all over, from Chicago to Los Angeles while working on the railroad. He had many stories he shared with his children and grandchildren.
He loved his grandchildren dearly, and was a very caring, helpful and generous man.
Survivors include his wife, Irene Yellowhair of Na-ah-tee Canyon; three daughters, Lena Gishie and Louise Bufford, both of Holbrook, and Lorraine Max of Fruitland, N.M.; four sons, Emery Yellowhair of Na-ah-tee Canyon, Tommy Yellowhair of Page, and Jack Yellowhair and Jerry Yazzie, both of Na-ah-tee Canyon; a sister, AnnaMary Begay of Na-ah-tee Canyon; brothers, Billie Belin and Guy Belin, both of Na-ah-tee Canyon, and Lee Belin of Holbrook; 23 grandchildren; 44 great-grandchildren; and seven great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Mary Belin and Manyhorse Belin; a son, Donald Yellowhair; a daughter, Darlene Yellowhair; a sister, Cleo Belin; four brothers, David Belin, Richard Belin, Warren Belin and Eddie Belin; a grandson, Tom Max Jr.; and a great-granddaughter, Amyia Richards.
Greer’s Mortuary of Winslow was in charge of the arrangements.