In Memoriam: Rev. Sampson T. Yazzie

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1922 - 2005

Rev. Samson T. Yazzie was born in 1922 in Farmington, N.M., where, as a boy, he herded sheep for his grandmother and his parents. At that time, sheep were the main source of income for the Navajo people. Yazzie passed away Oct. 3 from painful complications of diabetes and heart problems.

At age 13 Yazzie entered the Shiprock Bureau of Indian Affairs Boarding School in Shiprock, N.M., from which he graduated in 1942, the year in which he entered the U.S. Army. He saw action in China, Burma, and India until he was honorably discharged in 1946. He married Inez Dennison in 1948.

Gradually the young couple grew in their resolve to serve their Navajo people in the gospel ministry. Though not yet ordained Yazzie began ministry in the congregation of Shiprock, N.M., in l950. In l957 he enrolled in Reformed Bible College, Grand Rapids, Mich., from which he graduated in 1960. First Christian Reformed Church of Denver ordained Yazzie to the gospel ministry in 1965, the same year the Shiprock church welcomed him back as its pastor. Five years later the Yazzies accepted a call from Maranatha Fellowship CRC, Farmington, N.M. They retired in l986.

Yazzie was a leader among his people and an encourager to his fellow church leaders. He was a zealous and devout preacher of God’s Word, but always remained a man of deep compassion. His quiet patience and winsome understanding enabled him to win the trust of old and young. He was deeply loved by his family, and the Christian Reformed Church frequently availed itself of his leadership gifts.

Yazzie is survived by his wife, Inez, their children: Gilbert Yazzie and Virginia Belone, Calvin and Nova Yazzie, Gertie and Mahmood Moalemi, Elmer and Sharon Yazzie, Lamber and Caroleen Yazzie, and Ken and Becky Yazzie; and by 19 grandchildren.

About the Author

Louis Tamminga is the Banner's writer of In Memoriams for pastors.

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