Billy Reese Kee was born and raised in Pinon, Ariz. 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; one brother, John Kee; one sister, Caroline Joe; four girls Vicky Begay, Priscilla Kee, Cindy Powers and Kristine Kee; one son, Errol Kee; and nine grandchildren. He also has "extended family" in the 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. He lived a humble and 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 them. Billy lived in the former Bennett Freeze area 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.
Billy was also 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 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. He served as a member of Hada'a' Sidi (The Vigilant Ones), a grassroots organization.
Billy has been a pillar of the regional community for many years and inspired his community of Tonalea by serving as chapter president. He was also 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 Arizona, 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.
Condolences were sent to the family by a number of 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, Navajo Nation Council Speaker 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 and Raymond Joe.
Billy had an enduring spirit and was well loved. He will be missed but memories of him will live on. Everyone was blessed to have known him as a husband, brother, father, grandfather, leader, song and 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."
Funeral services took place Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at the LDS Church in Tuba City. He was buried at the family plot in White Mesa.
Cards may be sent to Mary Rose Kee, P.O. Box 73, Tonalea, AZ 86044 or call (928) 206-0838.