Bessie Palmer Becenti
Bessie Palmer Becenti, Tsénahabilnii Clan Matriarch. At age 98, returned home to her Creator on September 28, 2021. She was the eldest born to Buster Roy Palmer and Anna Blueyes on December 26, 1922. Bessie was Tsénahabilnii and born for Ta'neezhanii, maternal grandfather Tó'aheedlóinii, and paternal grandfather, Ozee Táchii'nii.
Bessie lived a long prosperous life. She grew up in the area of what is now NAPI farmland. Being the oldest daughter, she took on adult responsibilities early to nurture and care for her younger siblings. Bessie told about her life where she tended sheep and had great horsemanship. She shared stories of riding a horse across the San Juan River to Fruitland Trading Post to get groceries. Bessie was married off to Marion Barton and had three daughters. She later met her husband, Richard Becenti Sr., in Idaho where they worked harvesting crops. They traveled and lived in Pocatello, Idaho, Delta, Colorado, Barstow, California, and Los Angeles, California with their young family. Eventually they settled down in Lower Fruitland farm land where she is remembered to garden. Bessie moved her family to Upper Fruitland in 1965. There she raised her children and welcomed grandchildren, relatives when they needed a warm home.
In 1985, Bessie and Richard returned to Tohatchi, NM, Richard's birthplace, to live until his death in 1990. When she was widowed she returned to Upper Fruitland to live until her death under special and loving care of her daughters Dorothy, Carol, and Twila.
Bessie was best known as "Shima" or "Ma". She raised her children and opened her home to others who needed hot homemade food and a nurturing warm place to stay. A strong traditional woman who lived by the principles of Navajo Teachings. She grew up raising sheep to sustain life. Bessie wove Navajo rugs, which she prepared from shearing the sheep to coloring wool for weaving. Some of her artistic creations are in published magazines.
She was a healthy person who loved to eat. She enjoyed her coffee and donuts. She is most remembered to be loving, strong willed, and having sheer determination. She humbly prayed for her family upon rising and before resting. Her last words being "Alchini, Alchini" meaning she held her children and grandchildren close to heart until the end.
Bessie was proceeded in death by her parents, Anna Blueyes, and Buster Roy Palmer, spouses Marion Barton, Richard Becenti Sr., her daughters, Marie Redhouse, Irene Pesata, Dorothy J. Charley, and step-daughter Alma Richards. Her brother Tom Palmer, her sisters Louise Palmer, Rose Dobey, and Elsie John. Her granddaughter, Lori Becenti. Two step-grandchildren, Charles and Santana Smith.
Bessie is survived by Susan Pierce (Henry), Thomas Richard Becenti, Betty Jim Redhouse (Raymond), Julia Becenti (William), Richard Becenti Jr. (Judy), Jimmie Becenti (Victoria), Mamie Becenti, Caroline Becenti, and Twila Becenti-Fundark (James). She raised 13 children, had 47 grandchildren, 84 great grandchildren, and 6 great great grandchildren.
Graveside services and burial at Kirtland Fruitland Cemetery on Saturday, October 2, 2021 at 11 a.m. for the immediate family.
Pallbearers: Christopher Palmer, Anthony Pesata, Martinez Redhouse, Bryon Becenti, Richie Jim, Jadon Fundark.
Honorary Pallbearers: Thomas Richard Becenti, Richard Becenti Jr., Jimmy Becenti, Claude Redhouse Sr., Henry Pierce Sr., Raymond Jim Redhouse, William Howard Arch Jr., Levi Larry Charley Jr., and James E. Fundark.
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