Jose Luis ArrietaJuly 10, 1940 ~ June 28, 2017 (age 76)
Jose Luis Arrieta Arriaga (Highland Joe) was born to Eugenia Arriaga Jaio and Esteban Arrieta Anitua on July 10th 1940 in the farm house “Jaio” in Bolivar, Vizcaya, Spain.
Jose’s childhood years were spent working the family farm alongside his parents and two brothers Ignacio and Javier Arrieta. His first job opportunity away from home was working in a stone quarry, where he handled jackhammers and dynamite, and later moved onto the logging industry. Since Jose was young and strong his job in logging was loading logs by hand onto trucks. He did this work up until the day he was called to come to America.
Jose arrived in Boise, Idaho on December 13th 1958. Soon after arrival he began working for Highland Livestock and Land Co. on December 26th 1958. His first job for Highland Livestock was as a herder. He was a quick learner and soon excelled at the new position. After working many years as a herder, it was evident that Jose had a passion and dedication not only to Highland Livestock, but also to the sheep industry. He was soon elevated to Foreman where he spent the rest of his career.
The Little Family entrusted Jose with all the day to day operations including taking care of men, the sheep, the pack & strings, and all the ranches. His loyalty and dedication was so evident that he had earned the nick name “Highland Joe”. He continued his service and dedication to the Little’s and Highland until October of 2003. After leaving Highland, he continued his work as foreman for Shirts Sheep Co, and continued his legacy as “Highland Joe”. He worked for Frank Shirts until December of 2010. Highland Joe’s knowledge of the sheep industry and his ability to work with people was second to none.
Jose’s passion was Basque sports. Including Basque handball, stone pulling, tug of war, wood chopping, and most importantly stone lifting. He competed all over the west at Basque festivals, dances, and other events. He traveled, trained, and competed against many athletes. Most notably his good friend Benito Goitiandia. Jose was an athlete that enjoyed and thrived in competition. In later years, he found great joy in playing Mus (Basque Card Game). He would play alongside his friends in many card tournaments. Most notably qualifying and competing in Fresno California at the North American Basque Organization Mus championship this year.
In 1975 Jose married Josune Urquijo Barrencua in Natxitua Vizcay Spain. Jose brought his beloved bride Josune back to Boise Idaho where she established a very successful child care center out of their home.
In August of 1977 Jose welcomed the birth of his son Jon Arrieta. Jose was well known for having his son always at his side. They worked together at Highland Livestock where they experienced many adventures and shared a strong bond. Jose also instilled in his son Jon a passion for Basque sports and a strong work ethic.
During retirement Jose assisted Josune with her child care business. All the kids called him Aitxitxe (Grandpa). All of the children loved playing with him as he would manage pushing all 4 of them on the swings. Jose was also famous for sharing his bread, frosted flakes, and the occasional cup of coffee with the children. Needless to say appetites were ruined and Josune was not happy.
Jose was a happy man and a good man. His strength, humanity, and character made him one of a kind and those qualities we all love and cherish will never be duplicated and will no doubt be greatly missed.
Jose is preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife Josune Urquijo, his son Jon Arrieta, and daughter-in-law Maria Vergara. Jose’s Brother Javier Arrieta, wife Angie and their daughters, as well as Brother Ignacio Arrieta, wife Maria Isabel and their daughters. Finally, Jose’s beloved Grandchildren Maite Maria Arrieta and Jon Vicente Arrieta.
A rosary service will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Sunday July 9th at 7pm. The funeral service will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Monday July 10t. h at 11am. Followed by a reception at the Basque Center, Boise Id. Please send all memorials to the Basque Center or the Basque Museum and Culture Center.