FARMINGTON, N.M. — A Navajo Code Talker who joined the Marines as a
teenager to hang out with his friends has died at his home in New Mexico.
Wilfred Billey’s daughter, Barbara, says her father died Thursday in Farmington
following a short illness. He was 90.
Wilfred Billey was one of hundreds of Navajo Code Talkers, who stumped the
Japanese during World War II by relaying messages in their native language.
He was attending the Navajo Methodist Mission School when the superintendent
there learned the U.S. Marine Corps was looking for Navajo radio men. Barbara
Billey says her father volunteered because he wanted to be with friends who had
She says he never considered himself a hero.
Wilfred Billey later became an educator and spent his retirement ranching and
Services are scheduled for Dec. 21 in Farmington.