LaPahe, Tom: Former 24-year Navajo Nation lawmaker passes away

Whippoorwill, Arizona (AP) March 2011

A memorial service was scheduled for last week in Whippoorwill for a longtime Navajo Nation lawmaker who died after suffering a heart attack.

The tribe’s legislative branch says Tom LaPahe died at age 59.

LaPahe served 24 years on the Tribal Council, representing the Tachee, Blue Gap and Whippoorwill communities. Tribal officials say LaPahe worked tirelessly to bring projects including a shopping center, a school and health clinic the area.

Tribal Council Speaker Johnny Naize says LaPahe’s dedication to improve the lives of Navajo families was admirable.

LaPahe spoke only in Navajo on the council floor, and former colleagues say his words always were straight to the point and effective.

LaPahe is survived by his wife, three children and six grandchildren.