In loving memory of

Joe Hosteen Kellwood

Joe Hosteen Kellwood was born on August 20, 1921 on the Navajo Reservation in Steamboat Canyon, AZ, and passed away peacefully at the age of 95 at the Veterans Hospital on September 5, 2016 in Phoenix. He was one of the Few, the Proud, he was a WWII U.S.M.C. Navajo Code Talker. He served in the First Marine Division and saw battle on Cape Gloucester, Peleliu and Okinawa. He was awarded the Congressional Silver Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Action Ribbon, Naval Unit Commendation, Good Conduct, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and WWII Victory Medal. He served our country with pride and dignity. He was a guest speaker at numerous events and proudly sang the Marine Corps Hymn in his Native Language. Due to health issues he was not able to attend the recent Navajo Code Talkers event in Window Rock, AZ on August 14th. He was a carpenter by trade and a proud member of VFW 9400 and American Legion 75 for many years. We all have wonderful memories of seeing his face light up when we walked into the room. He loved to tell funny stories, laugh out loud and say "by golly". He enjoyed family gatherings, cook-outs and just spending quality time with good friends and family. He lived in the same house in Sunnyslope since the early 1950s (over 60 years of watching his children and grandchildren grow up). He was a resident of the Arizona State Veterans Home for five months. During that time, he met many Veterans and Staff who enjoyed hearing his legacy. He loved playing bingo with his fellow Veterans. He is preceded in death by his loving wife of 57 years, Andrena, his sons Paul and Robert and his grandsons Christopher, Paul, Joe and Robert. He is also preceded in death by his parents and siblings and most recently, his brother Roy, who passed away on September 2nd. He is survived by his children Connie, David and Catherine, eleven grandchildren and over twenty great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. Visitation will be from 12:00-1:00 PM on Thursday, September 8, 2016 at Hansen Chapel, 8314 N. 7th Street, Phoenix 85020. Services will follow at 2:00 pm at National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 N. Cave Creek, Phoenix 85024. Visit for condolences.


Rev. Bonnie Knight wrote on Aug 17, 2018:

"Thank you for your service to our country Joe. Your valuable contribution as a Navajo Code Talker was instrumental in WWII to help our nation to win the war effort. May God richly bless you in Heaven and your family in the years to come."

Dorothy Gonda wrote on Nov 18, 2016:

"My neighbor is Joe Kellwood's grandson (Jesse Kellwood ). He saw my Marine postings on my basement walls. And then he told me about his grandfather. My late husband was also in the U. S. Marines (5th and 14th Defense Batt.) stationed on Guadalcanal. Through Joe's service as a Navaho talker he probably was instrumental in saving the lives of my husband and his fellow Marines. What a small world! My sincere sympathy to the Kellwood family. Dorothy Gonda, Parma, Ohio."

Sandra McDonald wrote on Sep 15, 2016:

"May God grant your family with many blessings May God grant your family great peace. . My dad was stationed in Guam with a code talker. I did not know about this man for years because my dad had sworn to silence. He was to maintain teletype equipment and guard the code talker. My dad grew up with a Cherokee friend and had great respect for this code talker. My dad passed away without ever giving this man's name. He deeply respected him. I thank you for all the sacrifices made by your families ."

Gene Overstreet Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps wrote on Sep 9, 2016:

"Marine Joe Hosteen Kellwood, What a great warrior, from the heritage of the Navajo Nation to the warrior sprit of the Fighting Marines. No greater legacy than those of the Navajo Code Talkers serving our nation as a United States Marine in WW II. I have attended the Navajo Code Talkers Day (14, Aug.) in Window Rock Az. several times and I always stand in awe that ordinary men did such un-ordinary and incredible things on the battle field. Men like Joe Hosteen Kellwood, set the direction and cadence of march for all Marines that aspire to embody the warrior sprit. I know this Marine has joined his fellow Marines that have gown before him. As a Marine, we all look forward to the day we get a chance to tell swap a few sea stories with Joe, when we join that final formation. Semper Fidelis"

Maria J. Urshan wrote on Sep 9, 2016:

"Dear Connie & Family, My most sincere & deepest sympathy in the passing of your Dad, an awesome, great American hero and family man. May you & your family find strength & comfort with the wonderful memories he left you. My thoughts & prayers are with you during this very difficult time. Love, Maria Urshan ( DEC)"

Patti Silva wrote on Sep 8, 2016:

"To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord! Rest in peace Marine...Semper Fi!! "

Dan Calderon wrote on Sep 8, 2016:

"Fair winds and flowing seas Marine... Semper Fi Warrior - Thank you for gracing our beloved Corps with your presence and superior Espirit d'Corps. Rest in peace brother..."

Sinaia wrote on Sep 8, 2016:

"My condolence s to the Kellwood family. He did a great service to his family and country. I am very proud of his accomplishments. May he RIP."

Fred Pfister wrote on Sep 8, 2016:

"I was born after the war, I never met a code talker, and I didn't learn about them until the de-classification. Thank you both warriors for your service, and accept my grateful condolences to the family."

Carol Hanley wrote on Sep 8, 2016:

"Apparently a remarkable man.I don't know if you know this, but his story was in all the news, all over the country. I've been communicating with Connie and if she is an example of his family, he raised a remarkable family also. I'm very sorry for your loss. Thank You for your Service, Cousin Carol H"

Sandra Rose wrote on Sep 8, 2016:

"From the Deer family, our deepest condolences to the family & friends and the Navajo Nation. It was a pleasure to meet you, Joe. Rest in Peace and Thank You Marine."

Michelle wrote on Sep 8, 2016:

"Semper Fi Marine May you RIP.."

Mark S wrote on Sep 8, 2016:

"To the Family and the Navajo Nation, I'm sorry for your loss of both Joe and Roy. Thank you for your Service. Rest in Peace . Semper Fi"

Peggy nowman wrote on Sep 8, 2016:

"Connie, Cathy and Dave.i just want to tell you all how much I love you. And how your all in my prayers. My words could never say how bad I felt for you when I learned of daddy's death. I pray that all of you and all of your children, and Paul's children, and Bob's chilfren find peace with knowing how blessed you are to have each other during this hard time. I love and miss you all peggy"

Susan McCarthy(Desrosiers) wrote on Sep 8, 2016:

"To Connie and her family, my thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time of loss. Take care, comfort and always be proud of the amazing life your father lived."

Sharon Mast wrote on Sep 8, 2016:

"What an amazing life story Mr Kellwood leaves behind for the people of United States. His contributions during WWII are now woven into the history of the US, as are those of all who put the needs of the many above themselves. It is my hope that we never forget the proud Navajo culture which gave us so much in our darkest hours. Thank you, Joe Hosteen Kellwood."

Harold wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"To Joe's Family.. I never knew this man but I know your very Proud of him and what is Fellow brothers did....I myself am.. I also know you'll miss Joe now since he is in God's Kingdom...I would welcome him and all native warrior's among others that fought in this war in my house..I'd be proud to call him and others my friend...What these Native Americans did and the lives him and his Brothers saved..No words could be enough for anything to be said...I'm like others I didn't know him But I'm very GLAD for what they did..God Bless You Joe...May you walk in God's Kingdom now..AMEN.."

Susanna Sharrock wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"I am very sorry for your loss. He served his country well and I am eternally grateful and appreciate what he did in World War 2. I wish I could tell you all in person how much I wish I could have thanked him for what he did and wished he could have written down some of his stories. I hope to learn the Navajo langauge and learn to weave like y'all. Susanna"

Laurel Simpson wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"We are sending respect to the Navajo Nation for the service and bravery of Joe Hosteen Kellwood and of all your warriors in protecting our nation. "Major Howard Connor, who was the signal officer of the Navajos at Iwo Jima, said, ?Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima.?"

Gertrude wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"My sincere condolence to the family. Ahéhee for your service & your job is completed here on earth. RIP"

Bill & Ruth (Brown) Phares wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"My Dearest Connie and your family, Please accept the condolences of Bill & I on the passing of your dad as well as our nation for his great service to our country!! It was such an honor for Bill & I to meet him years ago at Most Holy Trinty Catholic Church in Sunnyslope at one of their fiesta's. My son Nick and and his childhood friend stood in amazement that they were in the presence of such a hero that day as your dad was!! No one can ever know what grief we feel in our hearts as we say good-bye to our parents as we never expect them to pass on but yet there is a legacy that is left in those who are part of the family tree. Your family tree has many honored branches that have blessed us. Your dad is now flying on 'Eagles Wings' as a honored American as well as a Catholic Christian. His flight to our God was one of dignity and grace....Each of you I know stand proud as you remember him. May the Lord lift each of you up and give you peace!! Please know that I am with you in spirit as you lay your dad to rest......As you know my daughter-in-law is a teacher at Pinon and I told some of her students of your dad last school year when I was there and they were so proud to be part of the Navajo tribe. I hope to visit you one day in the future in Colorado. You and your family are being lifted up in prayer!!"

Linda Cothron wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"RIP Mr. Kell wood. Thank you for your service."

Pat Masterson Killen wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Sending love and prayers to the Kellwood "kids" It was an honor to know your dad. RIP Joe Kellwood. Thank you for your service."

Tandy J. Howard wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"May you rest in peace my brother. You and the rest of the Navajo are truly wonderful people. I am a white man who was fortunate enough to Mary a Navajo. Like your self, she's beautiful, tough as nails, very successful and proud of her culture! Thank you for your service!!"

Kent Gearhiser wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Thank you for your service! May the Creator guide you on your journey."

Wilhelmina Matern wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Deepest condolences to the family."

Henry Brown wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"My aunt worked as a WAVE cryptologist and helped break Japanese Purple Code. Navajo uranium and A bomb saved my Dad from fighting during the invasion of Japan. I used code talkers as an example to my students in computer classes at Window Rock High and UNM Galllup in 1980's. I later used a similar method to crack the Human Genome at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1990's. I completed a thesis on DNA shotgun sequencing at LANL. Navajos have made great contributions by saving many people. Thank you!"

Jim Rudolph wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"I am humbled and my heart filled with gratitude by reading this great American's life story. I listened to the video of him singing the Marine Corps Hymn in his native language, Navajo. His smile spoke more than 1,000 words; it was pride and patriotism. I am an Associate Member of the Marine Corps League, Detachment #054, Largo, FL Semper Fi"

Melbert wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"My condolences to the family of Kellywood. Is there a route that, and can we share it"

Bob Barber wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Sincere condolences to the family of Joe Hosteen Kellwood. America grieves his passing and Thank Him for his service to our country. To his family, Please know that we mourn with you. Be comforted with the knowledge Joe now rests in the Loving Arms of our Precious Savior; Jesus Christ. God Bless You All. We shall miss him and Americans will keep his memory in our hearts."

David C. Arlund, Sgt. US Army 65-68 wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Our nation can never thank you and your fellow Code Talkers enough for the great contributions you made to and for this nation. Thank you for your service. May you rest in peace with your ancestors. Semper Fi."

Gregory Godek wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Joe, may your higher power welcome you with open arms. I pray for my Lord's mercy to ease the suffering of your family. Our great nation suffers each time a precious member of the armed forces of the "Greatest Generation" enters into eternity. We inherited the nation from you who were willing to walk through hell, and sacrifice anything, even your lives, to guarantee all Americans the freedoms we enjoy today. The Wind Talkers were a special breed of heroes, and played a very significant role in America's victory. My stepfather, a Marine, fought in the Pacific in WWII. He entered eternity in 2013. I fear when all of you heroes leave us, Americans will forget, and our collective gratitude will dissipate. That would be a tragedy. Thank you. Greg Godek U.S. Army Infantry veteran"

Michael Anderson wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"My Family and I send our deepest heart felt condolence to a true America hero for serving a country that truly misused his people the love he showed to it is unmatched and he'll go down in history for his service. God Bless and Rest in Peace"

Kathy Pollard-Babel wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Thoughts and prayers sent. Someone from my past. Never forgotten."

Jack Cleavenger Jr wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Joe was truly a member of the Greatest Generation. As a Code Talker, he truly was a deciding factor in the battles of WWII. Without men like him, we would have lost the war. He is truly as Great American Hero. I wish to express my sorrow to the family of this great man. As a Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer, I will grieve as well."

Cleo Bales wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Thank you Sir for your service and my freedom. My Dad used to tell me stories of the Code Talkers, and I was fascinated. May your spirit join your ancestors and rest in peace."

M Joan Sprieck wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Mike Roy -- What a wonderful message to leave for your friend. I didn't know him, but I DO understand what he did for America during WWII. May he rest in peace knowing he has left us as a mighty warrior and special member of his family and his tribe. His family can remember him with pride and honor for his contribution to the winning of that war and for the many positive actions he accomplished for his family and his people as well as for me and mine. I will keep him in my heart."

Nikki Schuller wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"I am honored to have met and know Mr Kellwood personally. R I P Warrior. Thank you for serving your country and saving it from annihilation."

Larry E Brimm, Sgt USMC 64-68 wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"To the family, friends and Marine comrades of this veteran who contributed so much to our victory in the Pacific theater, my sincere condolences. I don't know if I met Joe at the annual Sacaton Ira Hayes Memorial, but the Code Talkers I met there are a group so humble and unassuming when thinking of their war effort. I seen where you compared America to " Mother Earth" in your codes and now Mother Earth will welcome you with open arms. Semper Fi Marine. Duty, Honor , Country"

Keith E. Cooper wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Thank you so much for your service."

Denisa Garcia wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"The Nation mourns the passing of this American Hero. He, and the other code talkers, made it possible for all of us to keep and enjoy the freedom their hard work and sacrifice preserved for us. Rest in peace!"

Shirley Haley wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"To Mr. Kellwood and his family. Thank you for everything you did for all Americans. You are missed greatly. You gave so much. The only way I know to repay you is to honor your memory and to be the best person I can be. Thank you so much. May your family know that people from all over are thinking of them and wishing the best for them. May beautiful memories stay in your hearts.So sad."

Velma Anderson wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"RIP HERO, May the spirits carry you to clouds, Thank You for your service...."

Loretta Tsosie wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Condolences to the family, It's not an easy thing to go through. May God be with you. Thank you for sharing your Warrior with the world. May their story be passed on to our young children and young adults, on their bravery and our NAVAJO language."

krystiena ruiz wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"My condolences go out to Catherine Kellwood and the rest of the family. It was an honor to have met him. Jaydynn and Jordan love their great grandpa and they love their grandma. We love You. Krystiena, Jaydynn and Jordan"

Loretta Tsosie wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"My Condolences to the family, It's not an easy thing to go through . May God be with you..during this time. Thank you for sharing, your Warrior with the world. May, their story be passed on to our young children and young adults."

Young Marine GySgt. Tyler Smith wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"My deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Joe Hosteen Kellwood. My continued prayer for you and the family that you will have peace and comfort during this time."

Gardner Frazier wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"No more singing of the Marine Hymn in Navajo at special gatherings. Semper Fi Ol' Friend / RIP Joe..."

Richard Claro wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Sorry of his passing my dad is 95 and served in word war two .My dad kept the planes flying.The engines had to be right as dad had to take the planes up in the air to make sure the planes flew right. Its sad more then 1,000 vets are passing away each day. My health is not good I'm trying to get money up my doctor said all of my teeth has to come out because of infections in all my roots of my teeth.I just survied a head on truck wreck its been 2 weeks and 6 days since the wreck May god bless all of our vets.We have cherokee blood running through our veins.My oldest sister taught grade school 38 years.In years past I have sent school books to the native american schools out west."

Joanne wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Joe, Roy and all of the wind talkers, your memories will live on in all of the people. Rest in peace"

Jane O. Williamson wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Thank you, sir, for your service to and sacrifice for our country. The Code Talkers were brave and magnificent and our country owes them a great debt. May the Great Spirit watch over you and your family. WIth much admiration and great respect,"

Kevin Schwartz wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Semper Fi, Joe. Kevin"

David Black wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"I present my condolences for the passing of these brothers that were warriors for the country and the Navajo Nation. I'm retired military and when I taught codes to operators and how they were used I told the story of the Navajo Code Talkers. I salute these men and what they gave to insure freedom. With respect David Black, USAF Retired."

Bruce Stamper wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Our deepest condolences for your loss. May whatever Supreme Being that watches over us give Joe Kellwood peace and harmony. Thank you for his courage and pride to always remain true to his origins; allowing him to be a hero to all Americans in a time of great tribulation."

Chuck Hudson wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"My sincere condolences to all of Mr. Kellwood's family and friends. Since childhood I've been interested in the immense contribution made by the Navajo Code Talkers and their unique place in our history. It would have been such an honor to have met and known him. May he rest in the arms of the Great Spirit with his Marine comrades."

Bobbi wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"As an Army brat and proud American I would like to thank you for your invaluable service. Honor and respect. Deep condolences to the family."

Barbara Allen wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Another great fallen hero. Never let your language die. I am deeply saddened about losing Mr. Kellwood. Yes, he was a great warrior."

KJ wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Thank you for your service and for truly being an American hero!"

Nancy wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Thank you for your service and dedication to this country. RIP brave soldier."

Edward W. Sipes wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Farewell to a brave man who helped save the world for all of us. Many thanks."

Michelle W wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord and may perpetual light shine upon them. May the soul of Joel Hosteen Kellwood and all the faithfully departed rest in peace. Thank you for your service Mr. Kellwood."

Roger Patnode wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"We as a nation owe you so much for your service. I am always moved by those who have served our nation to which I am humbled by it. Peace be with you and my deepest condolences to your family."

Drouault wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"I am French .Thank you.Merci pour votre courage. Enorme respect. Mitakuye Oyasin."

Knowledge is Power | Joe Hosteen Kellwood, a Navaj wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"[…] and sacrifices made by Navajo warriors. Kellwood died Monday at the Veterans Hospital in Phoenix, according to an obituary posted at a local mortuary. He served in the First Marine Division and fought during World War II […]"

Joe Hosteen Kellwood, a Navajo code talker during wrote on Sep 7, 2016:

"[…] and sacrifices made by Navajo warriors. Kellwood died Monday at the Veterans Hospital in Phoenix, according to an obituary posted at a local mortuary. He served in the First Marine Division and fought during World War II […]"

Mike Roy wrote on Sep 6, 2016:

"My Friend Joe; Thank You for the past 15 years since we met. You are truly an American, a Warrior who actions of your Secret Weapon, Navajo Language is credited with saving 10's of thousands of lives in the Pacific Campaign in WWII. Those action cannot ever be repaid monetary but after your actions got de-classified, we as a Nations honored you all for your sacrifice and commitment to a Nation that didn't treat you well. I'm sorry for that. I'm meet you Joe as a Code Talker and you leave me as a dearest friend. I got to know you as a man with extreme Pride, Honesty, Compassion for all, Family Oriented, Loving Husband, Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather. Thank You for sharing your life with me, the Marine Hymn in Navajo, your Wit's and appreciation for what I could do for you. From the Hall of Montezuma, To the shores of Tripoli, Joe and I have fought the battles of Green Chilies and Burritos' at Via De Los Santos. Love you Joe and will Miss you. Now it's time to guard the Streets of Heaven. Semper Fidelis! Oohrah!"