Vina “Jeanie” Kiro, 62, died peacefully on the morning of July 19, 2013 at the Intermountain Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, Utah, surrounded by her family and close friends. Jeanie was born on April 30, 1951 in Rehoboth, NM to Chee Benally and Nellie Marie Jenkins. She was the first of four children.
Jeanie attended Crystal, NM boarding school and shortly after she was baptized into the LDS Church, she entered the LDS Indian Placement program. She was lovingly raised by Harmon and Vonda Hatch. There she actively participated on the High School Drill Team, theater, orchestra (playing the flute, violin and piano) and was a member of the Springville High School homecoming. Before graduating Springville HS, Jeanie made a commitment to attend Brigham Young University. While attending BYU, Jeanie met and married Michael F. Kiro and made many, many friends and has maintained a strong relationship with several 46 years later.
Jeanie ended her college career at BYU and made a commitment to be a stay at home mother. Being a stay at home Mom she became a skilled homemaker, she could sew, cook, she learned to make exotic and uncommon dishes. Sometimes her cooking skills went above and beyond what her children wanted to eat. In a few rare cases scarred her children- to this day one of daughters will not eat raisins, nuts and other concoctions in her food.
After finding herself as a single parent, she decided to return back to school to obtain some kind of training to support her two daughters. Jeanie continued her schooling from the College of Eastern Utah – San Juan Campus to remotely attend Weber State University’s Elementary Education program. There she graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and soon realized her talent to become a gifted Educator that so many of us know to this day. Jeanie taught at various schools with in San Juan School District including: Mexican Hat, Bluff, Montezuma and Blanding Elementary Schools. Ultimately specializing in the Navajo Heritage Language Program where she successfully taught and directed her students in song and dance, also accumulating several 1st place awards over the years at Native Song and Dance competitions.
After medical complications, Jeanie reluctantly retired this past year after many, many years of service in Education.
Filled with compassion and interest in others, Jeanie continued to easily make friends and maintain contact with many. Jeanie was an active member of the LDS church, whole heartedly accepting any calling to serve the Lord and presently serving in the White Mesa Branch Relief Society. Jeanie’s most notable calling was to serve her native people on the Blanding Dine Chapter Board and Presidency. She enjoyed giving relentless time and energy to see people’s needs were taken care of before her own. Jeanie never complained, never gave up…always maintain a brave and cheerful outlook of an optimistic future. She was loved by many, young and old from far and near. Her heart spoke to people from every nationality and tongue. Her words and teachings were simple yet will remain forever powerful.
Jeanie is proceeded in death by the following: Father Chee Benally, Mother Nellie Marie Nez Jenkins, her younger brother Randall Benally, younger sister Jennifer “Touchie” Jenkins, and granddaughter Nyah Jean Dalton. She is survived by her two daughters, Sunni Jean (Blanding, Utah) and Tsailee Marie (Albuquerque, NM), her grandsons: Triston Dalton (Blanding, Utah), Willard “Wil” Dalton (Ely, Nevada), Michael C. Benally (Blanding, Utah) and her younger sister Darlene “Dugi” Jenkins (Crystal, NM).
Funeral Services were held July 23, 2013 at San Juan Mortuary and Blanding South Chapel. She is laid to rest at the Blanding Cemetery. Donations can be made at the San Juan Credit Union under Vina Jeanie Kiro.
Card of thanks
A very special Thank You to Intermountain Dixie Regional Medical Center ICU Medical Staff, San Juan Mortuary, Blanding 8th Ward, San Juan Record, those who graciously sent flowers, donations, family and friends who supported and attended her services.
A genuine thank you from the Kiro family.