Wilma J. Mariano, Sheepspings, NM, passed away on April 13, 2021. She was born in 1957 in Shiprock, NM, to Amos and Violet Johnson.
She is survived by her mother Violet Johnson of Sheepsprings, NM; son Anthony Mariano (Sheepsprings, NM), daughters Tina Masayesva (Albuquerque, NM) and Shanidiin Shay (Bucksport, ME); grandchildren Jay Joseph Mariano and Awendela Shay-Sparks. She is also survived by siblings Helena Johnson (Robert), Ernie Johnson (Shari), Karen King (Wayne) and Barbara Haga (John), 14 nieces and nephews, and several Aunts, Uncles, and cousins.
She was predeceased by her Father Amos Johnson, maternal grandparents Estella Napoleon-Keedah and Frank Keedah; paternal grandparents Helen Joe and James Joe; and nephew Ryan Charley.
Wilma graduated from Wingate High School in Fort Wingate, NM. She then attended and graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM, where she resided for many years working and developing her skills in her art. She was a multi-talented artist as a sculptor, beadwork crafter, silversmith, basket weaver, and potter. Wilma then moved to Indian Island, Maine, where she was known through her arts, the Penobscot nation school, Boys & Girls Club, domestic violence awareness, and art shows. She returned to the Navajo Nation, Sheepsprings, NM, in 2014 to be near her aging parents. Wilma was a free-spirit beautiful woman, talented artist, loving mother, intelligent, strong, and kind. She loved watching the daily sunrise while enjoying her morning coffee.
Wilma battled with cancer over the past year. She was determined to fight the disease. Her words to the family were: “I can handle this. I can. I am strong mentally and emotionally! Been educating myself and am spiritually strong. I am ok right now.” She had so much courage and was so strong through it. She will be missed dearly but knowing that she is no longer in pain and is now with her father gives the family comfort. Rest in peace Wilma, we love you!
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a memorial service to take place at a later date.
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