Former Navajo vice president dies at age 83
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Former Navajo Nation Vice Chairman Wilson Skeet, who served two terms in the tribe's second-highest office, has died at age 83.
Skeet, a former Navajo code talker, died Oct. 31 at the Albuquerque Veterans Hospital, said David Emerson, his nephew and president of the Navajo Nation's Baahaali' Chapter south of Gallup. Emerson said his uncle had been ill.
Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. ordered flags on the reservation to fly at half staff in honor of Skeet's ''long and dedicated service to the Navajo Nation and his community.''
Emerson said it was Skeet who instilled the value of education in him and pushed him to be a leader in his community.
''He was very astute, he had very good principles and he influenced us a lot,'' Emerson said Nov. 1 in a phone interview while traveling from Albuquerque to Gallup.
Navajo Council Speaker Lawrence Morgan said Skeet had an unbridled commitment to serve his people.
''The nation has lost one of its most effective leaders. He was one of a kind and we will surely miss him,'' Morgan said.
Morgan's office said a memorial service was expected to take place Nov. 3 at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Gallup.
Skeet, a lifelong rancher, was vice chairman from 1971 to 1978 under the administration of then-Chairman Peter MacDonald.
Before that, he spent 20 years on the Navajo Tribal Council representing the Breadsprings, Red Rock and Chichiltah chapters. He was from the Navajo community of Breadsprings, which is now called Baahaali'.