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MEXICAN SPRINGS — Funeral services for Wilsie H. Bitsie, 78, will be held 11 a.m. Wednesday at the First United Methodist Church in Gallup. The Rev. Stanley Jim will officiate. Burial will be in Lone Pine Cemetery in Mexican Springs.
Visitation will be held at 7 tonight, May 9, at Rollie Mortuary Memorial Chapel in Gallup.
Bitsie died May 5 in Gallup. He was born Feb. 22, 1922, in Tohatchi for the Folded Arms People Clan into the Red Running into the Water People Clan.
Bitsie attended school in Naschitti, Rehoboth, Gallup High School and Albuquerque Indian School.
He was one of the first 29 orginal US Marine Corps "Navajo Code Talkers" during World War II.
He was employed in forestry with the Tohatchi Lookout Station, M.S. Soil Conservation Service, BIA Boarding School, Chilocco Indian School in Oklahoma, Tuba City Navajo Agency Education Employment Assistance Office and Crownpoint Eastern Navajo Agency. He retired after 40 years.
Bitsie participated on boards of the Western Navajo Fair and Rodeo, Crownpoint Fair and Rodeo, Navajo Tribal Fair and Rodeo, Rodeo Board Committee, Mexican Springs All Indian Junior Rodeo Association and Roping Club.
He helped plant by horse and plow, tending to farm animals and herding the family sheep and goats.
Survivors include his sisters, Barbara Bahe, Caroline Becenti, Eleanor Bitsie, Elizabeth Jones and MaeBelle Thomas, all of Mexican Springs; and brothers, Arthur Bitsie of Farmington, Donald Bitsie of Fullerton, Calif., Calvin Bitsie, Peter Bitsie, Walter Bitsie Jr., all of Mexican Springs, and Richard Bitsie of Navajo.
Bitsie was preceded in death by parents, Walter and Freda Bitsie; brother, Henry Bitsie; and sister, Wilhemena Bitsie.
Pallbearers will be Steven C. Becenti, Delbert Bitsie, Floyd Leon Bitsie, Greg Bitsie, Erwin Bitsilly and William Jones Jr.
The family will have relatives and friends at William and Elizabeth Jones' residence.
Rollie Mortuary of Gallup is in charge of the arrangements.