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.