Dr. Fred Begay (Clever Fox) Navajo Clans: Tachii'ni (Red Running into the Water People), Kin lichii nii (Red House People)
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In beauty may I walk
All day long may I walk
Through the returning seasons may I walk
Beautifully will I possess again
Beautifully joyful birds....
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk
A wonderful, caring, loving, giving, human being passed away at the age of 80 on April 30, 2013. Fred is now taking his spiritual journey home.
His passing has been a devastating loss to his family and friends who loved and respected him deeply. Fred's legacy will continue with his family who will maintain his traditional culture and educational values which were very important to him.
Dr. Fred Begay was born July 2, 1932, at Towaoc, Colo. on the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation. His mother Joy Lopez was Dine and Ute and his father Hosteen Begay was Dine. Fred attended the Bureau of Indian Affairs Boarding Schools at Ignacio, Colo. (1942-1946) and Albuquerque, New Mexico (1947-1951) where his training was in farming. In 1952, he married Helen Smith from Shiprock and they had seven children. He is survived by his loving family: wife Helen; brothers Johnny Lopez, Leroy Young, Raymond and Norman (Glenda) Lopez; and many relatives from Dine and Ute Mountain tribes; children Fred Jr, Joyce (Phil), William, Janet, Terry, Christina, Carolyn (Scott); grandchildren Amber, Crystal (Quinn), Jade, Justin (Aubry), Yana (Chris), Jeremy (Elizabeth), Benjamin (Brenda), Kalika, Winona, Stephen, Jason (Adrianne), Sarah (Patrick), Erick (Bonnie), Michael, Deezbaa, Amanda (Alex), Elizabeth (Manuel); great grandchildren Jacqueline, Helena, Wyatt, Triana, William, Margaret, Ryan , Krista, Abagail, Adam, Belle, Hannah, Noah, Naomi, Nathaniel, Chiara, Ella, Joseph, Lily, Leah, Jaxon, Abegail, Jordon, and Jewel.
As an non-commissioned officer, Fred served in the US Air Force during 1951-1955 and was assigned to an air-rescue squadron in Korea during the Korean War. He attended the University of New Mexico where he earned a bachelor's degree in math and science in 1961, a master's degree in physics in 1963 and a doctorate in nuclear physics in 1971. In 1971, Fred joined the physics staff of Los Alamos National Laboratory. He was also part of a NASA-funded space physics research team at UNM to conduct fundamental studies on the origin of high energy gamma rays and solar neutrons (1960-1963; 1965-1972). He has held research and teaching fellowships at Stanford University and the University of Maryland.
Fred has provided science and technology expertise to the following institutions: Chairman to the Navajo Nation's Environmental Protection Commission (1974-1976); Principal Investigator, NSF-funded Navajo Research Committee, Navajo Community College (1972-1976); advisory committee to the Board of Science and Technology for International Development, US National Academy of Sciences (1979-1981); member National Research Council (1979-present); Co-principal Investigator, NSF-funded Alliance for Minority Participation Program, Arizona State University (1991-present); advisory committee, NSF-funded Arizona Collaborative for Excellence in the Preparation of Teachers, Arizona State University (1995-2000); advisory board, NSF-funded Navajo Nation Rural Systemic Initiative Program (1998-present); advisory board, Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology, Arizona State University (2000-present).
His life has been documented in the following films, Nation within a Nation (Hearst Metrotone News, 1972); In Our Native Land (Sandia Laboratory 1973); The Long Walk of Fred Young-Begay (British Broadcasting Corporation and NOVA, 1978); Dancing with Photons (KNME-TV, 1997). He has also been featured in the National Geographic Magazine (1987, Notable Twentieth Century Scientists, Gale Research, Inc., 1994 and numerous published articles in newspapers, magazines and textbooks.
Fred has received the following awards: Ely Parker Award, American Indian Society for Engineering and Science, 1992; Lifetime Achievement Award, National Science Foundation, 1994; Distinguished Scientist Award, Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, 1999. Fred has also received other awards from the Department of Energy and the Navajo Tribe for his work in science, science education and public service.
Upon his retirement, one of his main goals as president of the Seaborg Hall of Science was to continue to provide public services to the native american communities for science and technology. The Seaborg Hall of Science named after the late Nobel chemistry laureate Glenn T Seaborg is an independent non-profit education and research institution. His family supports his commitment to this institution.
A memorial will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting you please send your donation to: Seaborg Hall of Science, 2480 36th Street, Los Alamos, NM 87544.
Published in Los Alamos Monitor from May 12 to May 14, 2013