05/11/2020 - Boise, ID, USA
1949 - 2020
Luanne Epeldi, 71, of Boise, passed away on Monday, May 11, in a Boise nursing home after a long illness.
Luanne was born on March 27, 1949 to Louis Epeldi and Rosario Asumendi Epeldi. She graduated from Bishop Kelly High School in 1967, and from Boise State College in 1972 with a Bachelor's degree in Spanish. During her junior year of college, she travelled to Spain to study at the Complutense University of Madrid, earning a Diploma in Spanish Language and Literature.
After college, she moved to Twin Falls to work for the Educational Talent Search Program at the College of Southern Idaho, using her Spanish skills to help Hispanic youth get into college by advising of financial aid opportunities and assisting them to apply. She later transferred to Boise State University, to coordinate the same program, travelling to small towns and migrant camps throughout the Treasure Valley to talk to prospective students. As the granddaughter of Basque immigrants, Luanne believed in the American dream and found it rewarding helping others achieve it, too. For 20 years, she helped young Hispanic people all over southern Idaho realize their dreams of graduating from college and having a career. She made a difference in a lot of lives in that time.
While working at BSU, she also earned her Master's degree in Counseling by studying part-time in the evenings at the College of Idaho. She then returned to Twin Falls to work as a counselor in the junior high schools, counseling students with special needs.
Luanne was proud of her Basque heritage. She danced with the Oinkari Basque Dancers in the 1960s, in the early years of the group. During her year of study abroad in Madrid, she also travelled to the Basque Country, to the villages of her grandparents to meet relatives and renew family bonds and, through this early experience, developed an appreciation for her heritage. There, she learned Basque cooking and songs, which she enjoyed teaching to her younger sisters and nieces. Luanne had a gift for learning languages. In addition to Spanish and Euskera (Basque), she also spoke French, having learned it by moving to Geneva, Switzerland and working there as a governess after college.
Luanne lived with an appreciation for simplicity and beauty in life. She was a generous and compassionate friend, who always had time to listen. She also enjoyed spending time with family, especially over a meal of Basque food with plenty of stories and laughter. She loved a good joke, often showing up for appointments at St. Luke's Mountain States Tumor Institute with a new one for the doctors who cared for her over the years. She had an indomitable spirit that endured cancer for 20 years with a courage and strength that amazed everyone who knew her. She will be missed.
Survivors include a brother, Joseph Epeldi of Boise and four sisters--Andrea Epeldi -Vietri, Mary McCallum, Alicia Whipple of Boise, and Kathleen Epelde-Morris of Ketchum. They also include three nieces—Belén Hart of Seattle, Claire Belén Vietri of Boise, Stephanie Larzelier of Oakland, CA--a nephew, Sean Vietri, of Spokane, WA, and a great-niece and nephew--Matea and Ian Hart, of Seattle.
A private burial will take place in the St. John's section of Morris Hill Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Basque Museum and Cultural Center of Boise.
(published in Idaho Statesman, Legacy.com on May 17, 2020)