James Harry Begay was born on March 9, 1940 to Margaret A. Tso and Hosteen He Begay in Cornfields, AZ. His clan is Naaneesht’ézhí Tááchii’nii and born for Ma’iideeshgiizhnii. He is the eldest child. He had eight brothers and two sisters; Harry, Lee Harold, Harry Lee, Shirley Yazzie, Jerry Lee, Lorna Begaye, Jackson, Jameson, Richardson and Victor Begay.
As a child, James had many responsibilities with running and helping around the homestead. He spent many hours tending and caring for the family livestock. He also had the responsibility of caring for his grandmother who was not able to care for herself. He herded sheep with his cousin and had many stories of the many adventures they went on.
As an older teenager, he attended Intermountain in Brigham City, UT. He told stories of playing football and working in the kitchen. After a couple of years, he was told he was too old to attend.
He left to Cleveland, OH to continue some education at a Vocational Trade School. He took up the trade of upholstery.
While in Cleveland, he met his wife, Mary Jane Jim. They returned to Shiprock and were married September 12, 1960 at the Catholic Church.
With Mary, they had ten children; Wilson Blatchford (deceased), Rose A. Tanner, Anderson Blatchford, Ronnie, Bernice (deceased), Bernadine, Clara Ann (deceased), Ricky, Randy and LeAnn. From his children he has17 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren and many more who called him “cheii”.
James worked construction early on in his life. He was an extreme and excellent worker that he was asked to come and work in the oilfield. He retired about twenty years ago.
James joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the early 70s. He served in many church callings. One of first callings in the church was to be the Sunday School president. As he learned more about the church, he became a “spiritual giant”. He never knew a stranger and was always willing to do service. He had a love for serving his Heavenly Father.
We will miss the presence of a great, humble and a remarkable person. We are sure that he is happily reunited with his eternal companion, Mary after ten years of her passing.