Delivery alert

There may be an issue with the delivery of your newspaper. This alert will expire at NaN. Click here for more info.

Recover password

Retired Tribal Court Judge Dies at 90

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Tom Becenti, World War II vet, peacemaker, served Crownpoint Judicial District until he retired in 1977.

Tom Becenti, a retired Navajo tribal court judge, World War II veteran and peacemaker, died March 28 at the age of 90, The Daily Times in Farmington reported.

Becenti, a resident of the Becenti Chapter, was born on Dec. 21, 1920, and served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1945, The Daily Times said. He was approved as a tribal court judge in June 1960 and served at the Crownpoint Judicial District until his retirement in 1977.

He participated as a peacemaker in the tribe’s Peacemaker Program and continued to preside over court cases even in his retirement, according to the paper.

Becenti was praised at a memorial service last week for using Navajo common law in his work as a judge, The Daily Times said.

Retired District Court Judge Loretta Morris said Becenti disciplined attorneys who came into court using outside laws and admonished them to use the Navajo Nation’s own laws, according to The Daily Times.

“He was a noble leader,” Morris said of Becenti.

As a trial court judge in Crownpoint, Becenti provided services to To’Hajiilee, Ramah and Alamo before there were courts in those areas, Navajo Nation Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie said.

“Because of his rulings the Navajo sovereignty is the better for it, and it’s safer,” Tsosie said.

Becenti is survived by his wife, Dorothy H. Becenti, a son, two daughters, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, The Daily Times said.

Burial was Monday at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.


Subscribe now! Albuquerque Journal limited-time offer

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email or Contact the writer.