Donna F. Vasquez, 74, passed away surrounded by family on June 17, 2019 at Northern Inyo Hospital. She lived with her family in Bishop, California, for 43 years.
She was the matriarch of her family, an environmental and community activist, a tribal leader and the most kind, giving and compassionate human being. She will be missed, not only by her family and friends but by her tribal community.
Donna was the first daughter born to Jessie and Johnny Manuelito. She grew up in West Bishop with her six brothers and sisters, Joe, Libby, Nonie, Dolly, Joey and Mark. A proud member of the Bishop Paiute Tribe on her mother’s side and her father was Navajo of the Kinyaa’aanii clan from Sheep Springs, Navajo Nation, New Mexico.
Donna graduated from Bishop Union High School in 1962 and she later moved to southern California to attend Riverside City College. While living in Riverside, she met her future husband, Alex Vasquez Sr., and married that spring. They started their family of 5 by having three beautiful children, Alex, Paul and Sky.
The coupled moved back to Bishop where Donna began many years of service to her tribal community,
She worked for many local organizations such as the Toiyabe Indian Health Clinic, Owens Valley Career Development, and was elected to the Bishop Paiute Tribal Council as Vice Chairwoman. She also had a 20-year-long career as a Phlebotomist at Northern Inyo Hospital. She earned a reputation as “the one to call” for when there was a baby or challenging draw. All of the elders specifically asked for her when they came in looking for help.
Donna continued to live in Bishop with Alex into their retirement and was very dedicated to her family and community. You could find her working in her garden or traveling to visit her children and grandchildren. She also continued her support of her Paiute tribal community participating on committees such as the Bishop Paiute Cultural Advisory committee, Tribal Scholarship Committee and Chair of the Tribal Environmental Protection Act Board. She was a true advocate.
Donna Vasquez leaves her beloved husband, Alex Vasquez Sr., her son Paul Vasquez and his wife Wendy of Tokyo, Japan; and daughter Sky Vasquez of Portland, Oregon. She is also survived by her brothers and sisters, John Manuelito II of Bishop, California, Elizabeth Manuelito of Bishop, Leanna Mojado and her husband Denny Mojado of Riverside, Dolly Manuelito of Bishop, Joseph Manuelito of Bishop, and Mark Manuelito and his wife Lisa Manuelito, also from Bishop. She also leaves several grandchildren, nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her oldest son, Alex Vasquez Jr.
A Cry Dance will be held for Donna Vasquez on Friday, June 21, 2019, at 564 N. Winuba Lane, Bishop. It will begin at dusk (estimated time: 8:30 pm). A Funeral service will be held on Saturday, June 22, 2019 at the Barlow Lane Gym, 390 N. Barlow Lane, Bishop, that begins at 10:00 am. Lunch will be served following the service.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance. Donna was grateful to them for all of their support they provided her son’s battle with cancer.