Rita Moreno Cornfield, 78, a longtime resident of Cortez, Colorado passed away peacefully at home on June 29, 2021. She was born on June 3, 1943, at home in Shiprock, New Mexico to parents Willie and Eula M. Ahkeah.
Rita was a Native American from the Navajo Tribe. She was born into her
1st Clan: Nihoobaanii- Gray Streaked-Ends
2nd Clan: To’Dich’iinii Bitter Water
3rd Clan: Bit’ahnii Folded Arms People
4th Clan: Ta’chinii Red Running into the Water People
Rita spent most of her early childhood in Rico, Colorado. She was one of nine siblings. She had two sisters and seven brothers. She attended and graduated from Aztec High School and she decided to continue her education in El Segundo, California, where she attended business school. She met her late husband and the love of her life Tony John Cornfield while attending school and living in California. They married and would have celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary on July 10th of 2021.
Rita was a mother to two children, Tammy Ann Cornfield and Timothy Julias Yazzie. She was a proud grandmother to four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. She was also an aunt and parent figure to many nieces and nephews, she cherished her friendship and enjoyed spending time with her family members.
Rita was a long-term member of the Cortez Seventh-Day Adventist Church and faithfully attended every Sabbath. She loved greeting people before the services, participating in worship, Bible studies, and ministering to others. Rita was a prayer warrior and had a strong belief in God. She knew where she was going and encouraged others along the same path, including her husband, Tony. Before his passing, Tony and Rita were inseparable. Rita led Tony to Christ and Tony joined Rita in fellowship, serving the Lord until their death.
Rita enjoyed her time as mom and full-time homemaker. While her kids were attending school, she worked as a teacher assistant for the Rico School District. After her children became adults, she went back to work as cook prep for Aramark at Mesa Verde National Park for many years until she retired. She loved to read, cook, bake, and listen to country music. According to her family, she made the best Navajo tortillas. She was also the family historian and kept records of family lineage dating back about a century.
Rita was a kind and generous woman with many friendships within her community. She gave without expecting anything in return and even when she did not have much to give she gave more, because in her words “God will provide.” She was a true matriarch and left a lasting legacy of values, traditions, and unconditional love. Rita left an impression on everyone she met and her imprint will forever be on their hearts.
Rita is survived by her daughter, Tammy Ann Cornfield of Cortez, CO; her son, Timothy Julius Yazzie (spouse Dantzelle) of Cortez, CO; her sister, Arlene Lee of Shiprock, NM; her brothers, Arnold Ahkeah of Grand Junction, CO, Sammy Ahkeah of Shiprock, NM, and Roger Ahkeah (wife Pat) of Shiprock, NM; four grandchildren, Miriam Christine Barbour (spouse Daniel) of Woodbridge VA, Caleb Michael Randol (spouse Alejandra) of Stanton CA, Harmony and Serenity of Cortez, CO; three great grandchildren, Noah, Grayson and Avery all of Stanton, CA; and many nieces and nephews.
Rita is preceded in death by her father, Willie Ahkeah; her mother, Eula M. Ahkeah; her husband, Tony John Cornfield; her siblings, Wallace Ahkeah, Donald Ahkeah, Curtis Ahkeah Scott, David Ahkeah Scott, and MaryAnn Yazzie; and her nephews, Michael Billy, Lionel Lee and Lanier Maxwell Ahkeah.
Memorial Services will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 10th, 2021, at the Cortez Seventh Day Adventist Church, 540 W 4th St, Cortez, CO. 813210. Graveside burial will proceed following memorial services at the Cortez Cemetery, 2727-2741 E. Empire St. Cortez, CO. 81321, and dinner reception following graveside services at the Cortez Seventh Day Adventist Church. Flowers sent to Cortez Seventh Day Adventist Church. Donations are being collected by the family, please contact Miriam Barbour for further information (714) 612-5147.