Cover photo for Nellie Rafael's Obituary
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1976 Nellie 2011

Nellie Rafael

February 11, 1976 — October 21, 2011

Nellie Rafael, age 35 of Belle Fourche, died Friday October 21, 2011 at her home, surrounded by her loving family. The funeral service will be held 2pm Monday October 24th, 2011 at Funeral Home of the Northern Hills in Belle Fourche with Rev. Paul Howard. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. Interment will take place at the Torreon Navajo Mission Cemetery, in Torreon New Mexico. Nellie Mae Cayaditto was born at her home in Torreon, New Mexico. She was the tenth child of Millie Cayaditto and much loved by Millie and Nellie’s dad, Tom Lee Cayaditto. When she was an infant she became very ill and spent the next four years fighting for her life. Karen Weller met her around that time and joined the fight for the life of this wonderful little soul. By four and a half she had conquered her illness and, with Millie and Tom’s permission, began to journey with Karen and her family. Nellie and her siblings spent lots of time exploring and playing with animals. Nellie was always the bravest. She loved to climb the highest tree and sit quietly, waiting for us to find her. The family moved from Albuquerque to Michigan, which was so green that Nellie asked if "we had moved to the jungle! "Going to school with her brothers and sisters, she always had a group around her and tried to keep the younger girls organized. She spent wonderful days talking, singing, and playing soccer. After Michigan, it was off to a small town in western Illinois. The high school years were harder for Nellie and she returned to Torreon, where she had her first child, Alicia Marie Rafael. When Nellie and Alicia came back to Illinois, Nellie completed her GED and became a Certified Nursing Assistant. This is when Nellie found she had a great gift. She loved taking care of the elderly and they loved her. She got people to laugh who hadn’t laughed in months. Everyone smiled when she was on duty. Her employers said that she was the best CNA they had ever seen. She treated people with dignity and joy and brought harmony to their lives. While in Illinois, Nellie delivered her son, Shane Kyle Mathes.  While living in Albuquerque she gave birth to Alexis Katherine Mathes. All three children brought joy into her life with their antics and smiles. Nellie struggled her whole adult life with the lure of alcohol and spent much time in treatment or at AA. But always in her struggles she was proud of her children and of being Dine. Her family misses her terribly. She remains forever in the hearts of her family and friends. Nellie is survived by her mother, Karen Weller of Belle Fourche; daughters, Alicia Rafael of Belle Fourche, Alexis Mathis of Belle Fourche; son, Shane Mathis of Belle Fourche; brothers, David Weller-Fahy of Dayton OH, Ronald Kimmons of Oakland CA; sisters, Katherine Weller-Fahy of Oakland CA, Johanna Weller-Fahy of Brooklyn NY, Stacy Peterson of Ann Arbor MI; and her special friend, Ernesto Fierro Ochoa and his son Jose of Belle Fourche. Nellie is also survived by her Navajo parents, Tom and Millie Cayaditto of Torreon, New Mexico. IN LOVING MEMORY Nellie Cayaditto Rafael Date of Birth February 11, 1976 – Torreon, New Mexico Date of Death October 21, 2011 – Belle Fourche, South Dakota Officiant – Rev. Paul David Skill Interpreter – Rita Rafael Eulogy – Karen Weller Interpreter – Lydell Rafael Honorary Casketbearers Millie Cayaditto   Reva Cayaditto   Tom Cayaditto Alexis Mathes   Shane Mathes   Alicia Rafael  Barbara Toledo Karen Weller   David Weller-Fahy Active Casketbearers Emerson Cayaditto           Craig Rafael          Dewayne Rafael Kendall Rafael               Kendrick Rafael      Cisco Whitehorse Interment Torreon Mission Cemetery Torreon, New Mexico
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