Lillis Brooks Manuelito, ‘Bunny’, was born Feb. 25, 1952, in Whiteriver, Ariz. From the age of 6, she was raised in Winslow where she graduated from Winslow High School in 1971. She later attended Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) in Albuquerque, N.M. where she met her husband, Marvin David Manuelito. They married in Winslow and relocated to Albuquerque and then to Navajo, N.M. until the passing of her husband.
She returned to her hometown of Whiteriver, where she lived for 35 years. Lillis had a career in business that led to her employment as a teacher’s assistant and then assistant to the superintendent at SIPI, fire chief secretary and court typist in Albuquerque, legal department secretary to the Chairman of the Pueblo Tribe, records manager with the Navajo Tribe and the Navajo Police Department, banker at Great Western Bank in Window Rock, store manager for the White Mountain Apache Liquor Store and food merchant, selling her tamales in front of Bashas’ in Whiteriver.
Lillis was blessed with three children, who will love her and adore her every day of their lives until reunited in heaven. Lillis was an excellent, kind, loving daughter, mother, aunt, sister, cousin, friend and community member.
She was an outstanding party planner and organizer of events. She treated every person she met with the same kindness and warmth, hugged everyone she encountered and she was known to be called “Mom” by many people. Lillis was also blessed with three grandchildren who she loved abundantly and provided many fond memories of fun, games, jokes, stories and delicious food.
Lillis was a master crochet crafter. She made and sold many blankets, pillows and other items that she crafted by hand. She loved to play dominoes, cards, Yatzee, and Monopoly and listen to “oldies but goodies”, as every song had a memory or story behind it.
She is survived by a daughter Melody Esther (Franklin) Quintero of Phoenix; sons, Nathan Brooks Manuelito of Tucson and Lawrence James Reed of Phoenix; grandchildren, Damien David Quintero and Keenan Rashaun Quintero of Phoenix, and Amerie Sanchez of Whiteriver; sisters, Janice Tsinnijinnie of Phoenix and Charlene Ethelbah of Whiteriver; brothers, Jay Brooks of Whiteriver and John Brooks of Phoenix; an aunt, Pauline Gooday of Cibecue; and many cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, foster brothers and foster sisters. She was preceded in death by her parents, Sidney Brooks and Rachel Wallen; brothers, Elmer Brooks and Leslie Brooks and sisters, Nina Fall, Selma Brooks and Erma Brooks Burnette.
The viewing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 18, at the Open Bible Lutheran Church in Whiteriver. Family viewing will start at 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 19, and the funeral will be at 10 a.m. Interment will be at the Whiteriver Cemetery. Dinner will be provided after the burial at the Open Bible Parrish Hall.
Silver Creek Mortuary of Whiteriver was in charge of the arrangements.