Harlan bohnee, farmer, community leader, passes away at 81

March 3, 2017


Harlan Bohnee (Paákhoya - Little Frog), 81, a resident of Tempe, AZ, O’odham/Hopi, and a member of the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) was called to his heavenly home on February 14, 2017. He was born October 8, 1935 in Blackwater, AZ.


As a U.S. Air Force veteran, farmer, consultant, community leader and educator, Harlan led a dynamic and impressive life, and touched many people on his journey. He was a generous man who had a passion for sharing his culture, and teaching Native people throughout Canada and the U.S. about economic development and governance.


Harlan was always an advocate for the success of Native people. He created the first tribal management degree program at Scottsdale Community College where he worked for 17 years, and built a successful agri-business on the Gila River Indian Community.


He was an active community leader serving on numerous nation building initiatives for the Gila River Indian Community including the Tribe’s water settlement, industrial park, gaming enterprises, irrigation district, marina, heritage center and raceway.


He is known to be the first member of the GRIC to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA), graduating from the University of Massachusetts. Throughout his life he learned, he led, and he inspired many lives. He will be greatly missed.


He is survived by his wife, Ruth; son, Gary (Patty); and three daughters, Liz and Jean Bohnee and Kay Seven; a sister, Delores (Alfred) Flores; daughter-in-law, Josie Gaisthea; eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren; and many nephews, nieces and relatives.


He was preceded in death by his parents, Ruth and Eugene Bohnee; and a son, Gene Harlen Bohnee.