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In memory of

Maria 'Carmen' (Pagoaga) Lete

Maria 'Carmen' (Pagoaga) Lete
Mari 'Carmen' Lete (June 24, 1934 - May 7, 2023)

05/07/2023 - Boise, Idaho, USA

Maria “Carmen” Lete, 88, formerly of Nampa, ID passed away of natural causes on Sunday, May 7, 2023, in Boise, ID with her family by her side.

Carmen was born on June 24, 1934, at the Arantzamendi Baserri in Mutriku, Gipuzkoa, Spain to Julian Pagoaga and Maria Urresti.

Carmen arrived in Boise, ID on September 9, 1957. She stayed with her Tia Maria and Tio Domingo Aldecoa and attended college at Boise Junior College to learn English. During this time, she met her future husband, Jose Lete.

Her sister, Luisa, was employed by the Spanish Embassy in Washington, D.C., so Carmen had an opportunity to work in D.C. She worked for a Uruguayan Diplomatic family as well as Russell & Irene Train. She was the children’s nanny and said those kids were her best English teachers.

After returning from D.C., Jose and Carmen married on November 25, 1961, at St. John’s Cathedral in Boise. In partnership with her close friend, Flora Aldazabal, Carmen and Flora ran the Letemendi Boarding House.

In May 1965 she was offered the cook’s job at the Aldecoa Sheep Ranch, so the family relocated, and she remained the cook for 14 years.

Carmen was known for her excellent cooking, and it was a true passion.

In 1975, she lost her best friend and love of her life, Jose.

As a widow with 3 children, she truly showed her strength by continuing with her job and looking for new opportunities. This led to her employment at the State School and Hospital in Nampa. She worked as a cook and supervisor for 17 years until her retirement. She always said that was her most rewarding job.

She was a long-time member of the Boise Basque Center, Txoko Ona Homedale, Basque Museum & Cultural Center, Aiztan Artean and St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Nampa.

As a mother, she never missed a ball game, concert or event involving her children.

As an Amuma, she continued this dedication to cheering on her grandkids.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Jose, her parents and seven siblings, Maria Cruz, Joaquina, Jose Mari, Elvira, Ignacio, Ramon I & Ramon II. She is survived by her three children, Julian Lete, Miren Lete-Odencrantz (K.C.), J.P. Lete (Leandra); four grandchildren, Aisea & Andoni Odencrantz and Manu & Belen Lete. She is also survived by her sister, Luisa Bilbao and nephews, Miguel Bilbao (Carrie) and John Bilbao in addition to many nieces and nephews in the Basque Country.

We want to express our appreciation to our Tia Luisa for the many years of loving care she gave to her sister. In addition, we are truly grateful to all the staff at The Bridge at Valleyview Assisted Living for the personal care and love they gave our Ama over the last 15 months.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to The Basque Foundation, Basque Museum and Cultural Center, Txoko Ona Homedale or a charity of your choice.

(as published in Cloverdale Funeral Home)

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