AKWESASNE – Rasennes Pembleton, 43, of 538 State Route 37 in Akwesasne, peacefully crossed into the Sky World on the morning of May 31, 2021, while at home in the arms of his wife and sons. After a courageous and savage four-year-long battle with colorectal cancer, Rasennes was greeted by his mother, daughter and sister and reunited with his childhood friends, Jade and Danielle, to make his journey a peaceful one.
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Rasennes was a good man. He grew up in his community of Akwesasne, guided by his mother and father, with love and attention of aunties and uncles, and many circles of extended family, where he received and greatly magnified his knowledge of the world. He leaves a legacy of gentle, strong character and personal integrity guided by love and service for his family and his people.
Rasennes was born in Malone, New York on September 2, 1977 to Raymond Pembleton and the late Sakakohe Cook Pembleton. He was a bright student at Mohawk School and Salmon River High School, where he excelled academically and played varsity lacrosse. He played varsity football at St. Lawrence High School. Rasennes graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1999, having earned a Bachelor’s degree in History and Native Studies. Rasennes wed the love of his life, Pamela Lazore, on July 3, 2004, surrounded by close friends and family at their home in Akwesasne. Their joyous union brought two sons, Rakwirahes and Rarontiiostha, whom Rasennes will forever consider his pride and joy. On October 2, 2002 Rasennes and Pamela suffered the loss of their daughter, Kawennanoron Elizabeth.
Professionally, Rasennes served the community as manager of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Early Childhood Development program, then as Tribal Court Administrator. He also worked in the private sector as a National Account Manager for Ongweoweh Corp. in Ithaca, N.Y. He then joined MCA’s Aboriginal Rights and Research Office, supporting the reclamation of Mohawk lands. Rasennes believed firmly in the importance of unity within the Akwesasne community.
Rasennes co-founded the Akwesasne Eagles Youth Flag Football organization in 2010. He led many teams through the gates of Generations Field over the past 10 years, and truly loved every moment as a coach, ref, mentor and booster for the Eagles family. Rasennes also coached Akwesasne Storm minor lacrosse for many years.
Rasennes was a lifelong fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, following the team faithfully through their ups and downs. Their 2018 championship lifted his spirits immensely as he followed the exciting playoff run to the “Philly Philly” victory over the Patriots. He was recently surprised with a once-in-a-lifetime virtual experience with quarterback Jalen Hurts and Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins through a special connection with the Jack & Jill Foundation.
Rasennes is survived by his father, Raymond; his wife Pamela, and their sons Rakwirahes and Rarontiiostha; his beloved aunties Katsi, Beverly, Debbie, Diane, Loretta, and his ista, Josie; his great aunts, Elda and Leona Cook; by his uncles Tom and José; and by his brother Shatereh. Rasennes will be sadly missed by his brother-cousin Tsiorasa (Randi), and his sister-cousins Wahiahawi (Kevin) and Karonienhawi (Edward); by his parents-in-law Ronnie and Pauline Lazore; his sisters-in-law Chrissy (Allen) and Terri (Washogeebic); and his brother-in-law Jimmy (Elaine). Rasennes will be remembered fondly by his adoring nieces and nephews: Alyssa, Taylor, Kallie, Easton, Sadie, Kaeliana, Allison, Reannon, Aanzheni, Wejiiew, Waznoday, Mushtewin, Tia, Rawennakaien, Rariwakerons, Kawennanirats, Ierihwanirats, Iehahsherenhawe, Karakwashere, Omadweyaashk, Kawennanien, Rotonhnahere, Tewatsirokwaks, Iewenneraks, Kanatires, Tehokwirathe and Karakwatiron. Rasennes is also survived by many loving cousins, and by his chosen brothers and sisters Lenny, Mike, Stacey and Babette.
He was predeceased by a daughter, Kawennanoron Elizabeth Pembleton on October 2, 2002; his mother, Sakakohe on July 25, 2013; his sister Lisa on December 9, 2020; and by his maternal grandparents Evelyn Montour Cook and Capt. William J. Cook, paternal grandparents Wilma Pembleton and Gladwin Printup; and his uncle, Louie Cook.
Friends may call at the Donaldson Funeral Home on Thursday, June 3 from 3-8 p.m. Funeral services will be held on Friday, June 4 at 10 a.m. A meal will follow at the Pembleton’s home.
Memorial contributions may be made in Rasennes’ name to the Akwesasne Cancer Society.