Florence Camino

Florence Camino in her living room on the accordion.
 
Florence Camino was born on March 14, 1924 to Marie and Peter Urrizaga in Buffalo, WY where her parents owned sheep.  Florence was the first of her family to be born in the US, as her two older sisters, Anna and Josephine, were both born in Arnegi, Behe Nafarroa, where their parents were also from.  Florence went to elementary and high school in Buffalo, and often told the story of being sent home on the first day of school because she couldn’t speak English.
 
Growing up, she would spend the winter months and lambing season in town with a family so that she could continue school.  She also told the story about her childhood friend who was taking piano lessons.  Her friend, not being very enthusiastic about them, happily shared her lessons with Florence, and Florence happily took that instruction and eventually would also complete her practice hours. 
 
One day, the girl’s mother overheard the piano playing coming from the other room, and what a surprise to see Florence sitting at the piano. A self-taught musician, Florence loved music and was eager to practice when she could.  She began playing the pump organ at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, when she was 12 and continued to do so until the time of her death.  
 
After high school, Florence attended Loretto Heights College in Denver, CO where she studied liberal arts.  After two years, she returned to Buffalo and married Martin Camino on November 26, 1947. Martin had come to the states as a sheepherder from Arnegi in 1938. A year later they went into the sheep business, and the couple raised seven children.  After Martin’s death, Florence remained active running the ranch with their eldest son John.  
 
 
There was no formal Basque dance group or club in Reno until 1982; however Florence always provided music for the local Basques to perform at schools, the retirement home, museum, parades, talent shows, and other community events.  She also accompanied the Basque Choir at Buffalo’s annual August 15th celebrations during mass, as well as at funerals of fellow Basques.  For a time, Florence would play the organ, providing dinner music, at the Mexican Steer Restaurant, in Buffalo.  Florence shared her love of music with her family and as seen here, often accompanied her children, and grandchildren in sing-alongs, or played so they could Basque dance in the living room.   Florence passed away on February 10, 1995.  
 
Florence Camino - In the choir loft on the organ at St. John the Baptist church.
Florence Camino - Playing on the annual fair and rodeo parade float.
 
Florence Camino playing for her daughters. 
 
Florence Camino - playing for the choir at the annual August 15 picnic.
Audio Recording: 
Florence Camino, Asa, Dantza.
Florence Camino, Partner Dance.