Cortez, CO 81321-3213
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Elijah Blair

1927 - 2019
Elijah Blair Obituary
Celebration of Life for Elijah Blair will be at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019 at Gone West Restaurant, 679 S. Lake Powell Blvd., Page, AZ.

Elijah was born Nov. 28, 1927 in McRoberts, KY. He passed away on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018 at the age of 90. In 1948, Elijah finished his service in the US Army, married his high school sweetheart, Claudia Nell Caler, and moved to Toadlena Trading Post. He and Claudia worked, owned or were partners in Mexican Water, Aneth, Kayenta and Dinnebito Trading Posts over the years on the Reservation. The family established a home in Cortez, Colorado in 1960 so the children could go to school. They established a second home in Page, Arizona in 1968. In the 1970's, Elijah built the Blair Building on Block 17 in Page, where the trading post operated until recently. For over sixty years, Elijah learned from, traded with, and promoted the lives and artistic abilities of his customers, his friends.

While family time was treasured, Elijah never lost sight of the opportunities, importance and even responsibility of promoting entrepreneurialism in general and the acceptance and acknowledgement of the Navajo people and culture. He was proud and honored by many opportunities to speak and serve as an advocate for such interests. Some of his honors were as follows: He was a judge at the Miss Navajo Pageant in Window Rock. He was a board member of Dine Cooperative Inc. in Chinle. Elijah was a board member and chairman of the 1st National Bank in Cortez.

He was a board member and then president of the United Indian Traders' Association (UITA). He testified at the FTC hearings in Washington D.C. on behalf of the UITA and Native American people. He was instrumental in UITA funding historical projects at Cline Library Special Collections & Archives at NAU. His interview was filmed for the documentary "Old West Trading Posts, 100 Years of Barter and Trade" and the film "Weaving Worlds". He was a participant in the Traders' Rendezvous at the Cortez Cultural Center. Elijah was a speaker at the event commemorating the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Rainbow Bridge National Monument. He provided memorabilia and merchandise for a two-year exhibit honoring Navajo weaving at the John Wesley Powell Museum in Page. In 2014, Elijah's book "From Hoot Owl Holler to Indian Country" was published. Most recently, Elijah helped establish the Trading Post exhibit at the Powell Museum showcasing memorabilia, merchandise and art from Elijah's years of trading.

Elijah and Claudia were avid travelers, spurred by their adventurous spirits and natural curiosity and interest in people and cultures. They visited every state, most often pulling their camper and exploring every little side road, small town, lake, river or stream where they could cast a line.

Surviving Elijah are his daughters, Kathy Ann Blair (Bob Ingeholm) of Page, AZ and Vonda Lynn Garland (Bill) of Arriola, CO; his son, James Caler Blair (Sandy) of Page, AZ; his 6 grandchildren, Greg Havran, Curtis Havran, Sarah Mauger, Kelli Garland, Chris Garland, & Eric Lewis and by his 14 great grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild. Elijah was preceded in death by his wife Claudia; his infant daughter, Sandra K. Blair; his parents, James Lee and Maggie (Ison) Blair; and by his siblings, Denver Blair, Hazel Tolliver, Raymond Blair, Pauline Forrester, Bradley Blair, Marian Morrison and Serena Blair.

Memorial contributions may be made in Elijah's name to Dolores State Bank, PO Box 848, Dolores, CO 81323 for the United Indian Traders Entrepreneur Scholarship at N.A.U. School of Business.

Arrangements are being made through Ertel Funeral Home. To send condolences or to view the full obituary, log on to www.ertelfuneralhome.com and click on the obituary section.
Published in The Journal on Feb. 8, 2019
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