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Harlan Bohnee

10/08/1935 - 02/14/2017
Service Date: 02/23/2017
Service Time: 6:00 - 9:00 PM
Service Location: Arizona Community Church, 9325 S. Rural Road, Tempe, Arizona 85284

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 08, 1935 in Blackwater, Arizona.

As a U.S. Air Force veteran, farmer, consultant, community leader, and educator, Harlan led a dynamic, 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 program at Scottsdale Community College where he worked for seventeen 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 his 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 son, Gene Harlan Bohnee. 

A memorial service will be held on Thursday, February 23, 2017 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Arizona Community Church located at 9325 S. Rural Road in Tempe, AZ.  A graveside service will take place on Friday, February 24 at 8:00 a.m. at the Mesquite Cemetery of the Stotonic Village, District 4, Gila River Indian Community.  A meal will be held at the District 4 Service Center. 


  • My Condolences to the family….

  • Harlan was one in a million — sending prayers for strength to his beautiful Ruth during this difficult time.

  • Joseph Manuel & Family

    Unique special individual! Had ability to listen & provide counsel, even if he didn’t say anything! We love you Harlan. Sabobogi’ domoyee’ nosopo!

  • Mr. Bohnee was a class act. I always looked forward to running into him at Committee meetings and agricultural meetings. He was witty and kind and had so much knowledge to share. May He Rest in Eyernal Peace. Godspeed, Mr. Bohnee.

  • Marilyn Richards

    Harlan was such a kind man. I new him from Scottsdale Community College. God bless his family.

  • Cliiff & Betsy Walker

    Deepest Sympathies. Let your memories help you.

  • Harlan was one of my greatest mentors, father figure, friend and Godfather to my first born Emily. He was a true leader and inspiration to me and all who knew him. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten. Rest In Peace and enjoy your new home in Heaven. I’ll see you again one day.

  • I Love you Ruthie & Gary my deepest sympathy to you all of your Family. Harlan was one of the Mentors for my daughter Letha when she ran for Miss Gila River and Miss NCAI. You’re Home Harlan , I will see you again in Heaven!

  • An honest intelligent man. Prayers for Mr. B and his family.

  • Mr Bohnee Family: Harlan was a very gracious host of sorts when the Nez Perce TERO staff drove from Lapwai to Phoenix to attend a national conference. He shared his time and joined us in a meal, and showed a sincere interest to help us be comfortable and feel welcome in the community. He had a large presence and was clearly a highly respected man by all who knew him. Rest In Peace Mr Harlan Bohnee!

  • My sincere condolences to the Bohnee family. Harlan was a very kind and intelligent man, I knew him to be a quiet humble man but when he spoke, his intelligence filled the room. He will be greatly missed throughout Native America. Ruth Ann, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Robert N. Clinton

    My deepest sympathy to the family. Harlan’s dedication, inspiration, and commitment clearly is reflected in Gary, who I know. May his family and all who knew Harlan take comfort in and be inspired by his memory and may he rest in peace.

  • My sincere condolences to the family. Take comfort in knowing that Harlan had an impact on so many lives. He will be missed. Hugs and prayers to all.

  • Cecelia Firethunder

    Over the years at many tribal events he always stood tall, proud and admired him for his grace, knowledge and caring for the people, it kinda emanated out of him, you know could sense, feel and see it. Condolences to his nation, family and communitiy.

  • Julia Marrietta-Brown

    All that u can say is, “THANK YOU VERY MUCH HARLAN ”
    Condolences BONHEE FAMILY, continued thoughts and prayers!!

  • Dick and Connie Hahne

    I was truly blessed to have known and worked with Harlan. He was a great example of integrity,character and leadership. He will be missed but I look forward to seeing him again with Jesus!
    Ruth you and family are in our thoughts and prayers!!

  • So sorry to hear the loss of a very dear friend and co-worker in tribal, governmental, and economic affairs. Condolences to Ruth and all the Bohnee family and friends. In all the many meetings I attended at Gila River and elsewhere, if Harlan wasn’t there, it seemed there was something important missing. And it was as Harlan provided great leadership and expert advice or counsel on whatever was being discussed. He will be greatly missed by all!!

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