2020/02/20 - Portland, AEB
(2020ko otsailaren 25etik martxoaren 1era The Oregonian Legacy.com-en argitaratutako heriotz-oharra)
Oct. 20, 1923 - Feb. 20, 2020
John Elorriaga, our beloved husband, father, mentor and friend, described his life in two words: abundantly blessed. He was shaped by his Basque heritage, abiding Catholic faith and deep love for family. He passed away at the age of 96 Feb. 20, 2020.
Born to Basque immigrants Ambrose and Maria Elorriaga Oct. 20, 1923, John grew up in Jordan Valley, Ore., surrounded by family, love and the discipline of hard work. As part of a tight-knit Basque community, he learned the importance of doing what you could to help other people. He embraced this lesson and lived it for the rest of his life.
Following high school, he worked for Boeing Aircraft and built planes to help support his family. He joined the Army Air Force in 1944, serving in Germany as a glider mechanic. After the war, he started at Boise Junior College (now Boise State University) and finished his degree at the University of Oregon.
He took his first job at U.S. National Bank of Oregon in 1951, joining the bank's executive trainee program. He often joked that the bank not only started his career, but it found him a wife. He and fellow employee Lois Newman married in June 1952. They left the bank and made their way to Pittsburgh, where John earned his MBA.
Upon their return to Portland, he came back to U.S. Bank and began to grow his career. John and Lois settled down and expanded their family to include six children. To supplement his banker's salary, John took on extra jobs including working retail at J.C. Penney and teaching classes at PSU, Multnomah College and the American Institute of Banking.
With an itch to try the business world, John shifted gears in 1966, leaving the bank to work for Evans Products. From Evans he went to Rader Pneumatics and then to Columbia Corporation, each time learning more about what it takes to run a company. He wanted to understand business and banking from the customer side and came away with a great education in problem-solving and management.
More change came in the 1970's, when John returned to U.S. Bank, this time as bank president. He was ready and felt his time away helped him understand what customers wanted and how to run the bank. He also wanted to better meet employee needs. He now understood that if you take care of your people, they take care of you, so he initiated new policies and programs to support employees. He retired in 1987, but remained on the U.S. Bank Advisory Council well into his 90's and continued to champion community and mentor business big and small.
John was also an entrepreneurial businessman and investor, at various times owning interests in the Crater Lake Lodge concession, Gateway Porsche/Audi and, after retiring from the bank, Shari's Restaurants, which more than doubled in size during his ownership. He also actively invested in commercial real estate in Oregon, Washington and Arizona.
He was humble and fair, always positive and ready with a joke or song from his youth. He and Lois enjoyed a long, caring relationship for 68 years. He himself said that all he ever wanted was a healthy, beautiful and loving family, and that has been his greatest accomplishment.
He was predeceased by his parents; sisters, Amalia, Carmen and Pilar; and son, John Michael. He is survived by his sons, Dana (Eileen) Elorriaga, Steve (Sally) Elorriaga; and daughters, Sharon (Mike) Nugent, Linda (Craig) Sweitzer and Lisa Elorriaga. He is also survived by grandchildren, Megan Nugent, Laura (Dave) Light, Danny and Patrick Nugent; John, Jeff, Anne and Brooke Elorriaga, Christopher, Katharine and Elizabeth Elorriaga, Jack and Maria Sweitzer, Enzo and Maximilian Czysz; and great-grandson, Griffin Light.
A service will be held at 12 p.m., March 6, 2020, at St. Mary's Cathedral. Reception to follow at Waverley Country Club. In lieu of flowers, the family requests condolences to Providence Cancer Institute in the name of John Michael Elorriaga.
Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits.