Cover photo for Leslie Bitsie's Obituary
Leslie Bitsie Profile Photo
1937 Leslie 2017

Leslie Bitsie

December 27, 1937 — March 21, 2017

Funeral Services for Leslie Bitsie, Sr. 79 of Tohatchi, New Mexico will be held on Friday-March 24, 2017-10:00 AM at the First Navajo Christian Reformed Church in Tohatchi, New Mexico. Burial will follow at the Tohatchi Community Cemetery, Tohatchi, New Mexico. Rev. Stanley W. Jim will officiate.

Leslie was born on December 27, 1937 in Tohatchi, New Mexico into the Chiricahua Apache People Clan and for the Salt People Clan and he passed away on March 21, 2017 in Grants, New Mexico.

He attended Riverside Indian School, in Anadarko, Oklahoma, Phoenix Indian Bible Seminary in Phoenix, Arizona. He worked as a Technician for El Paso Natural Gas, Radio disc Jockey for KYVA, Case Worker for the New Mexico Department of labor, Substance Abuse Native counselor for both New Mexico Department of Corrections and former Gallup Friendship House, Heavy Equipment Operator for BIA Navajo Area New Mexico Roads and was a Silversmith in the 1970's Indian Jewelry boom. He was along-time Hereford Cattle Grower and Horseman. He was a champion rodeo cowboy, earning numerous awards for bull riding, saddle bronc riding, and steer wrestling in the early Indian Rodeo Circuit and amateur rodeos throughout the southwester U.S. He served as Bull Riding Director of the early All-Indian Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Bitsie was a Roadman Cleric of the Kiowa Humke Alter and Southern Cheyenne Hoffman Alter in the Native American Church. He was a God Card Member of the AIRCA, New Mexico Cattle Growers, Christian reformed Faith, and limited traditional practitioner of Navajo Religion Ways. He was the Great Grandson of Navajo Headman, Hastiin Bitsiiyelli, and Mrs Asdzaa Ashihi, the first Pioneer settlers of Tohatchi in July 1868. after their return from Bosque Redondo. In 1955 he married the former Miss Alice J. Arviso. He founded Tohatchi Chuska Rodeo Association and Tohatchi Rodeo Grounds in 1964 along with his wife. Many championship rodeos were subsequently held annually. Bitsie shared his knowledge of Native ways with many, stressed higher education attainment, and completely endeared his family.

He loved watching NFL Football, was a great storyteller of his past rodeo and agricultural experiences, recounted Bible verses, and appreciated an occasional dinner outing always savoring his hot coffee. He will be truly missed.

He is survived by his Loving Wife: Alice J. Arviso-Bitsie; Sons: Leland Bitsie, Lloyd Bitsie, Lyn Bitsie and Leslie Bitsie, Jr.; Daughters: Winona Bitsie and W.J. Bitsie; 7 Grandchildren and 10 Great Grandchildren.

He is preceded in death by his daughter: Wilma J. Bitsie-Becenti; Sister: Jennie Ann Bitsie; Parents: Leo and Jane B. Bitsie; Maternal Grandparents: Kee and jane Hanazbaa Ortiz-Bitsilly; Paternal Grandparents: Mr and Mrs. Hastiin Tlizi Lani Biye'.

Pallbearers will be: Jason Parrish, Joshua Parrish, Leander Bitsie, Todd Bitsie, Byron Bitsoie, and Howard Redhouse, Jr.

Honorary Pallbearers will be: Leland Bitsie, Lloyd Bitsie, Lyn Bitsie, Leslei Bitsie, Jr. and Clinton Jim.

Relatives and friends will be received at the memorial meal at the Tohatchi Chapter Following the Burial
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Leslie Bitsie, please visit our flower store.


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