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Morongo Band of Mission Indians Grieves for Former Tribal Chair Adelaide Presley

Adelaide Presley, a former chair of the Morongo Tribal Council who devoted decades to helping improve Native American healthcare through her leadership of the Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health organization, passed away Monday evening.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Adelaide Presley as a leader and a tireless champion for increasing tribal access to quality healthcare and wellness programs, not only in the Inland Empire but all across Indian Country," Morongo Tribal Chairman Robert Martin said.

"Adelaide entered public service at an early age and helped shape a better future for tribal families, children and elders," Martin said. "We are all in mourning, and our prayers are with her family during this difficult time."

Presley, 73, passed away peacefully Monday at her home on the Morongo Indian Reservation surrounded by her loving family. She was married for 52 years to Raymond Presley, who passed away in February 2012.

She is survived by her children, Raymond Presley Jr.; Kimberly (Presley) and Bill Schoenborn; Terry and Kylee Presley; and Lisa (Presley) and Steve Buenting, as well as her 18 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Raised on the Morongo Indian Reservation, Presley was only 22 years old when she was first elected to the tribal council in 1962. She served more than five years on tribal council and as chair of the tribal council. She last served on the council in 1991 when she was elected chair. Presley spent more than 20 years helping to lead the Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health, Inc., the premier health agency serving tribes in the Inland Empire, as its executive director and as a member of its Board of Directors.

The Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health administration building on the Morongo Indian Reservation is named after Presley in honor of her enduring commitment to tribal health care.

Created in 1968, the Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health, Inc. provides culturally sensitive health care services that abide by the traditional customs of Indian communities and promote wellness and early intervention to achieve healthy lifestyles.

Presley also served as Morongo's delegate to the Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health and participated in the national Indian Health Services annual Tribal Leaders meetings.

First visitation services are scheduled for Tuesday November 12 from 4 pm to 8:00 pm at Wiefels & Son Memorial Chapel, 50 East Nicolet Street in Banning. 

Memorial services are scheduled for 10 am on Wednesday November 13 at St. Mary's Catholic Church, located at 11231 Mission Road on the Morongo Indian Reservation. Private interment will follow the services.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorial donations be made in Presley's name to the breast cancer research programs at the City of Hope in Duarte, CA.


Banning-Beaumont Patch
By: Guy McCarthy
November 6, 2013