Vernon Howard Belindo
Vernon Howard “John” Belindo, 76, a loving husband, father, and grandpa, passed away peacefully late Sunday evening of complications from West Nile Virus. He went home to be with the Lord on October 7, 2012.
FUNERAL: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 at 11 a.m., Rainy Mountain Baptist Church, Rainy Mountain, OK; Wednesday, Oct. 10; Viewing from 4-6 p.m.; Memorial Service at 7 p.m. at Smith Funeral Home, Anadarko, OK.
MEMORIALS: Flowers may be sent to Smith Funeral Home, 301 W. Oklahoma St., Anadarko, OK 73005.
Vernon “John” was born November 3, 1935 in Phoenix, Arizona to Damon and Ruby Goomda. A full blooded American Indian (Kiowa-Navajo), he served the American Indian community for over 30 years as an activist and political leader. He graduated from Central Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1966. Early in his career he served as the Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, D.C. where he was instrumental in passing legislation concerning the rights of Native Americans. John’s continued professional endeavors over the next 25 years was devoted to serving the American Indian people, from numerous advisory positions with various Native American organizations, to the Executive Director of the Native American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Denver Indian Health and Family Services, to the Network Manager of American Indian Radio on Satellite (AIROS) to name but a few. John also produced and hosted several television programs with the purpose and intent of using media as a means to educate and promote awareness of American Indian issues and history. Two of the programs produced and hosted by him were “The First Americans” in Albuquerque, NM, on KOAT –TV (ABC) and “Good Medicine”, WQED (PBS) in Pittsburgh, PA. After retirement, he became increasingly involved in acting in professional films and theatre, narrating video, musicals and theatrical productions. Among his work he was most proud, the Narrator for “Circle of Faith – The Words of Chief Seattle” with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, cast member of the theatre production “Black Elk Speaks” in both Denver and Los Angeles, and a cast member in the Swedish film “Nature’s Warrior”.
John was a member of the Kiowa tribe of Oklahoma, of the Black Leggings Warrior Society, the Kiowa Gourd Clan, and a Marine Corp. Reservist from 55’-59’. He was a man of integrity, determination, enthusiasm, energy, and confidence. He cared deeply for his family and friends and will be dearly missed.
SURVIVORS: Wife, Sharon Belindo of Arlington, TX; sister, Phyllis Belindo of Taos, NM; and from Arlington and Fort Worth; son, Anthony Belindo and his wife Ann; Daughters, Julie, Kelly and Angela Belindo; son in law, Clifford Willems, and grandchildren: Amber (of Brisbane, Australia), Briana, John, Mackenzie and Scott, and numerous nieces and nephews.