Billy Reese Kee served as Chairman of the Board of Forgotten People and visionary for the organization. He also served as the Field Adviser to the Black Falls Water Project for Rita Sebastian, intern from Brandeis University, in partnership with the US Environmental Protection Agency. Billy had a dream for all water haulers across the Navajo Nation to have access to safe drinking water. This In Memorium is offered to pay tribute and honor him for his work with Forgotten People and the Navajo Nation.
BILLY REESE KEE
May 8, 1943 – July 18, 2009
Billy Reese Kee was born and raised in Pinon, Navajo Nation (Arizona) by a traditional elderly couple he called his grandparents. He was Red House clan, Born for Strands Out Banana. He is preceded in death by his parents Ruth and Fred Kee and his son Christopher Kee. He is survived by his wife, Mary Rose Kee, 1 brother John Kee, 1 sister Caroline Joe, 4 girls Vicky Begay, Priscilla Kee, Cindy Powers, Kristine Kee, one son, Errol Kee, 9 grandchildren, Forgotten People Dine’ Be’ Iina’ na’ hil naa (Dine’ Rebuilding Communities) and Hada’a’ Sidi (The Vigilant Ones).
Billy was a family man and loved life. Billy lived a humble life, a rich life, not in material possessions but with great joy and appreciation of his family. Billy nurtured his children and took great care to instill traditional values in his children. Billy lived in the former Bennett Freeze in a Hogan without running water and electricity. He raised sheep, horses and cattle and lived a traditional lifestyle. He enjoyed spending time with his family and grandchildren, taking road trips. He was a great listener who instilled traditional values in his children.
Billy was a public servant, a tireless and a passionate advocate who was dedicated to the protection of his people and their environment and fundamental laws of the Diyan Dine’ (Holy People). Billy served as Chairman of the Board of The Forgotten People and in a critical time nurtured and empowered the people with respect, Ke’, (right relations) and NayLah (fairness). Billy had a dream of access to safe drinking water for all the water haulers across the Navajo Nation, a dream that will be realized. He served as a member of Hada’a’ Sidi (The Vigilant Ones), grassroots organizations on the Navajo Nation.
Billy has been a pillar of the regional community for many years and inspired his community in Tonalea and all the people he served. Billy served as President of the Tonalea Chapter of the Navajo Nation, which is the regional legislative and administrative body. He is President of Tonalea Land Use Planning, Vice President of the Navajo Nation Council On Aging, President of the Western Navajo Council On Aging, Member of the Governor’s Commission on Aging, State of AZ, and board member for the Diné Bii Association for Disabled Citizens Inc. He served as a former Commissioner of Navajo Housing Authority (NHA), supervised construction of Navajo Housing Authority sub-divisions in Cow Springs, Tonalea, Navajo Mountain, Beclaabito, Bird Springs and other communities to provide housing, waterlines, paved roads, health and social services, economic, community development and emergency services.
Condolences were sent to the family by Forgotten People’s partners – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency, Brandeis University Heller School for Social Policy, International Humanities Center, James W. Zion, Esq., Hada’a’ Sidi, Dooda Desert Rock, Tonalea, Kaibeto, Black Mesa, Coppermine, Pinon, Blue Gap Council delegates and residents of Black Falls, Box Springs, Cameron, Leupp, Bodaway/Gap, Tuba City, Burnt Corn, Tolani Lake, Black Mesa, Big Mountain, Speaker of the Council Lawrence T. Morgan, Diné Bii Association for Disabled Citizens Inc., Dine’ Policy Institute, Indigenous Environmental Network, Navajo Nation Department of Social Services, Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation providers, Chee Secody, Gibson Jones and George Kee, Navajo Veterans, Lena Fowler, County Supervisor and former Tonalea Chapter officials Joe Daiyze and Joe Klain. Pallbearers-Errole T. Widefoot, Leo Joe, Gray Whiterock, Emanuel Webb, Johanson Billie. Honorary Pallbearers John Kee, Ellison Joe, Herbert Joe, Raymond Joe
Billy had an enduring spirit and was well loved. He will be missed but our memories of him will live on. We are blessed to have known him as a husband, brother, father, grandfather, leader, Song & Dance man, show man and Elvis Presley impersonator. Billy – Hozógo nasádo – “In Beauty May You Walk”, “May You Walk In Beauty”, “Walk In Beauty”, “May Beauty be all around you.”
The funeral took place on Wednesday July 22, 2009 at Church of Latter Day (LDS) Saints, Tuba City. He was buried at the family plot in White Mesa.