Darren Joseph Yazzie

In Loving Memory,

Darren Joseph Yazzie passed away on Jan. 12, 2012, at his home in Klamath Falls.

A memorial service to celebrate Darren’s life and honor his career was held at 1 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 23, at First Presbyterian Church, 601 Pine St. There will be a reception to follow at Reames Golf & Country Club.

Darren’s death was the result of a very aggressive and rare form of kidney cancer. God was faithful to Darren and merciful in giving him a completely pain-free journey throughout his illness. That was a true miracle.

Darren was born Oct. 6, 1960, in Phoenix, Ariz., to Frances and Roger Yazzie Sr. He had three brothers, Roger Yazzie Jr., Jonathan Yazzie, and Darrell Yazzie. His father Roger Yazzie Sr. and his brother Jonathan Yazzie preceded him in death.

Survivors include his mother Frances Yazzie of Klamath Falls, his wife Judi Yazzie, his son Jeremy and Jeremy’s girlfriend Nakita Smith. Jeremy was born to him with his former wife Sandy Yazzie Dobey. He is also survived by his two brothers Roger Yazzie Jr. and Darrell Yazzie, his nephew Darrell Yazzie, niece Kendra and her husband Rob Hall, and numerous other relatives in Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. I would be remiss to not acknowledge the generosity and love of his very close friend Paul Crawford.

Darren moved to Klamath Falls from Reno, Nev., with his family when he was in elementary school. He was very athletic throughout his school years, enjoying and excelling in baseball, basketball, and football. He graduated from Klamath Union High School in 1978. He went on to play softball and basketball well into his adult years. He mostly loved watching his son Jeremy in his school athletics as well as being a coach for many of Jeremy’s activities. Nothing in Darren’s life gave him greater pleasure or made him more proud than being Jeremy’s father.

Sports were always at the center of Darren’s life, whether playing, coaching, or refereeing. He shared a love for the San Francisco Giants with his father. Darren was able to attend the World Series game that the Giants won two years ago with his wife Judi. Darren’s interest turned to golf in his 30s. He called it a hobby, but truthfully it was more of an addiction. He became quite a good golfer and enjoyed the competition and camaraderie that the game brought to his life and the many friendships he made on and off the course. Darren loved most anything that involved being outdoors. Whether it was fishing, hunting, golfing, or boating, if it meant having fun, he was there.

His professional career of 30-plus years was spent with the U.S. Forest Service in wild land fire suppression. Initially, as a Winema Hotshot, on engine crews, leading and training crews on prescribed burns, and a multitude of other tasks. For the past several years, was at the Klamath Falls Interagency Fire Center at Kingsley Field. He was lucky to really enjoy his work and was respected and admired by his peers.

In lieu of flowers, an account has been established by the U.S.F.S. for donations at South Valley Bank and Trust in c/o Darren Yazzie Memorial.

Darren laughed easily and often. He had the true warrior heart and soul of the Navajo. He was the kind of man I was honored to have as my husband. The kind of man you hoped would be your friend. He was wise beyond his experiences, extremely patient, wonderfully competitive, and fiercely protective of anything that mattered to him. If Darren loved you, you were very lucky. Those who knew him best referred to him as “The Giant Gentle Man.” This world was quite simply a better place for having him in it. Our lives were richer for having him in ours.

Godspeed my love … you will be missed!