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Obituary: Remembering Judge Carol K. Perry

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Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Speaker Seth Damon offer condolences to the family, friends, and former colleagues of Navajo Nation District Court Judge Carol K. Perry, who passed away on March 1, 2022, in Albuquerque, N.M. at the age of 70 years old.

Perry was born in October 1951 in San Francisco, CA. She is Ta’neeszahnii (Tangle Clan) and born for ‘Áshįįhi (Salt People Clan). She was appointed probationary District Court Judge and confirmed probationary District Court Judge by the Navajo Nation Council in April 2005. She was confirmed to serve as District Court Judge on Dec. 19, 2007.

Judge Perry served as a presiding judge at Tuba City District Court, Ramah District Court, and for over nine years at the Window Rock District Court, before retiring in October 2018.

“Judge Perry served the Navajo people with great honor and commitment for many years. She was very hard-working and dedicated to our Navajo judicial system and to protecting our sovereignty and way of life. On behalf of the Office of the President and Vice President, we offer our thoughts and condolences for her family and former colleagues. We pray that her loved ones take comfort in knowing that she is now with God,” said President Nez.

In addition to her service with the Navajo Nation, Perry was very knowledgeable of Navajo culture, traditions, and language, and applied it in her life and relations with people. According to her family, she was also a member of the Diné Medicine Men’s Association.

After graduating from St. Michael’s High School as valedictorian, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Arizona. She went on to earn a juris doctorate degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

According to information provided to the Judicial Branch from her family, she began her career as an aide to U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini from Arizona, and was instrumental in starting the extension campus for Prescott College in Window Rock and assisted many with completing their teaching credentials.

Perry is survived by her partner-in-life, Stanley Perry; cousin-brothers Virgil Kirk, Jr., Kenneth Kirk; cousin-sisters Gloria M. Moore (Kirk), Joan Kirk Gilmore, and Geraldine Binettnee-Kirk.

Perry is preceded in death by her sister Sharon (Kirk) Manuelito; adopted parents Kenneth Kirk and Betty Marie (Cook) Kirk; birth parents Nora Cleveland and Mike Ford; and uncles George H. Kirk, Navajo Code Talker, and Navajo Nation Chief Justice Virgil Kirk, Sr.

“The family of Carol K. Perry thanks you for your kind words and thoughts during this most difficult time,” Joan Kirk Gilmore said on behalf of the family. Monetary donations can be made via Zelle at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Call (928) 607-3711 or email to set up other arrangements.