11/17/2021 - Boise, Idaho, USA
Jose Mari (Joe) Guerricabeitia passed away November 17th after battling various ailments.
He was born March 1, 1944 in Munitibar Bizkaia Spain. As the fifth of twelve children and the second oldest brother, Jose Mari helped his family raise his brothers and sisters. He was comfortable cleaning or chopping kindling, whatever helped his mother most. He worked in the family fields and forests and as a young boy enjoyed cutting down trees with his father. Jose Mari worked on the local roads of Munitibar and at the age of 19 he served as a bartender in Bilbao for the famed cyclist, Lorono.
He came to America to work for Highland Land and Livestock, where his cousin Jose Luis Arrieta Arriaga and brother Jose Luis worked. From there he worked constructing trailers at ShelterX, where he became exposed to all of the trades, and became particularly interested in electrical work. In 1973, at the Basque Center, Joe met Mary Lou Murelaga, who would become his wife a little more than a year later. It was with her encouragement and support and in some cases direct teachings he improved his English, studied and obtained an electrician's license, and became a US citizen. Joe was proud to become American and grateful for the opportunities this country afforded him.
Joe began acquiring property as an investment and as an opportunity to make his own way before and after he married Mary. Combined with Mary's similar interests and coupled later with the death of Mary's father, he went full-time managing properties for both himself and his mother-in-law. He continued in this endeavor right up until his passing and is therefore best known as an owner/property manager of affordable north end, Boise apartments. Before there was YouTube, Joe taught himself how to wire, build, plumb, demolish, roof, cut, mow, paint, trim, pave, move, etc...Every aspect of owning, managing, fixing and repairing rentals he figured out along the way.
Joe worked hard all week and enjoyed his Sunday ritual of playing Muz, a Basque card game, at the Basque Center. He occasionally partook in fishing trips with friends, travels back to Spain to visit his family and trips to Hawaii.
Family was important to Joe. He loved holiday dinners with family and friends as well as informal gatherings.
We will remember his whole face smiled when he greeted you, his chuckle laugh and endless jokes, his playing the harmonica with family, his ability to do or learn to do anything, his unconventional solutions to problems, his sheepherder bread, his tortilla de patatas.
Joe is survived by his wife, Mary, and their three children: Joe Guerricabeitia, Angie Guerricabeitia Luke and her husband Eric Luke along with their daughter Abby, and Lisa Guerricabeitia and her husband Keith Hazen-Diehm; two local brothers Jose Luis Guerricabeitia and Javier Guerricabeitia as well as seven siblings in Spain and numerous nieces and nephews.
Memorials can be made to Artzai Ona (the Basque Catholic organization) at PO Box 6439 Boise, ID 83707; The Basque Museum at 611 W Grove Boise, ID 83702; or The Basque Center at 601 W. Grove Boise, ID 83702.
A viewing will be on Thursday December 2, 2021 from 5:30-7pm with a Rosary to begin at 7pm at Cloverdale Funeral Home, 1200 N. Cloverdale Rd. in Boise.
The Funeral Mass will be on Friday, December 3, 2021 at 11am at St Mary's Catholic Church, 2612 W. State St. in Boise.
(Obituary published by Idaho Statesman, Legacy.com on November 27, 2021)
Jose Mari Gerrikabeitiaren hileta elizkizuna ingelesez eta euskaraz
Jose Mari 'Joe' Guerricabeitia Arriaga, by Joe Guerricabeitia Murelaga (Facebook)
Jose Maria (Joe) Guerricabeitia Arriaga Arriola Jayo was born in Munitibar, Bizkaia, Spain, the 5th of 12 children to parents Antonio and Felipa. Working on the family baserri and helping to raise his siblings, particularly with his sister Begona, he also worked helping his dad as the town grave digger, building civic projects like roads and water deposits, and just before coming to America working as a bartender in Bilbao for famed Basque cyclist Loroño. It is here that I am almost certain he started honing his famous flirtation skills.
He came to America to work for Highland Land and Livestock, where his cousin Jose Luis Arrieta Arriaga and brother Jose Luis worked. From there he worked constructing trailers at ShelterX, where he became exposed to all of the trades, and became particularly interested in electrical work. Along the way he met my mother, Mary Lou Murelaga Aldape and with her encouragement and support and in some cases direct teachings (that teaching gene runs strong!) he improved his English, studied and obtained an electrician's license, and became a US citizen. Before and after they married he began acquiring property as an investment and as an opportunity to make his own way. Combined with my mom's similar interests and coupled later with the death of my Aitxitxe Justo Murelaga Retolaza, he went full-time managing properties for both himself, my mother and my Amuma Angeles Aldape Azpiri. He continued in this endeavor right up until his passing and is therefore best known as an owner/property manager of affordable north end, Boise apartments.
Before there was YouTube, my dad taught himself how to wire, build, plumb, demolish, roof, cut, mow, paint, trim, pave, move, etc...Every aspect of owning, managing, fixing and repairing rentals he figured out along the way. I had the fortune of being his most common co-pilot, handing him tools, finding his keys and flashlights and filling out paperwork and signing and dating checks, much to the chagrin of my mother. I learned many, many things from my father, but most importantly I learned not to be afraid of open ended questions or not knowing the answer before trying to tackle the problem.
...It took many years to find a common activity that did not revolve around the apartments, but I finally discovered we both shared a love of playing mus, a Basque card game akin to the bluffing of poker, but with greater nuance and the added bonus of speaking and counting in the little Basque or Spanish that I know. Although visits home were still often punctuated with trips to the dump (a running joke amongst all of my life-long Boise High friends: "Did you go the dump yet, this visit?), because he saved the "heavy" things for when he had my help, and various runs to apartments, I codified our shared love of mus, by playing every March in a tournament in Mountain Home which occurs near his March 1st birthday. It's still 4 months away, and it's awfully hard to think about, but I want to continue the tradition in his honor. It's to early to think about who to play with, but know you have big shoes to fill, and not just because of mus or the fact that he wore a size 13.
I love you, Aitxe, and I miss you terribly. I wish you were around even if just to play one more hand or give some unsolicited advice on what I was doing wrong that every Basque kid has received at some point or another.
Thinking of life without you is hard...It's a problem I should have been more prepared for, but I wasn't. I just hope that as this sadness clears I'll be able to do what you taught me so well: take everything in, look at what I have and where I need to go and make forward progress as best I can. I will certainly try my best.
Goian bego, Aitxe. Maite zaitut.
Services for Jose Maria Guerricabeitia Arriaga Arriola Jayo are as follows:
Rosary: Dec 2nd, 7pm with family viewing from 5:30-7pm at Cloverdale Funeral Home
Funeral: Dec. 3rd, 11am at St. Mary's, followed by burial at Dry Creek Cemetery (~1pm) and a reception at the Basque Center (~2pm).
Goian Bego (GB) - Rest in Peace