On August 4, the Navajo Nation was sad to hear that it lost another Code Talker. Reuben Curley, 96, walked on at his home in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Curley who was born July 10, 1916 in Bird Springs, Arizona enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in August of 1943 and served with the 2nd Marine Division during World War II according to a Navajo Nation press release.
“I am sad to hear this news. Our Navajo Code Talkers are very special to our people and we mourn the loss of Reuben Curley. At this time, the prayers of the Navajo Nation are with the family. We must never forget the service the Code Talkers did for our people in this country,” Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly said in the release.
Curley was part of campaigns at Tinian, Saipan, Guadalcanal, and Okinawa, participating in the occupation of Japan while being qualified as a rifle sharpshooter the release stated. He was honored with various medals and a recipient of the Purple Heart medal.
He was honorable discharged in January of 1946, at which time he returned to Arizona to work for the Navajo Army Depot for 45 years.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Code Talker Curley. His efforts to defend this country and his people make me proud. My prayers, and the prayers of the First Lady, the Vice President and the Navajo Nation are with the family,” Shelly said.
Curley is survived by his wife, Ardith Chase Curley of Flagstaff; daughters, Lena Wilson, Mary Jane Curley, Etta Curley, Helen Curley; sons, Reuben Curley Jr., Luby “Curley,” George Curley; sisters, Girdie Hyjoe and Rosie Keams; 40 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his parents; his son, Bruce Curley; sisters, Ora Curley, Vina Curley, Polly Curley; and brothers, Harris Curley, Tony Curley and Phillip Curley.
Funeral services were held August 11 and he was laid to rest in the Citizens Cemetery in Flagstaff, Arizona – Veterans Section.