Mallea, John Frank

Mikel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Jordan Valley, Oregon
Interview Date: 

John was born in Owyhee County, Idaho, on 3 December 1912, to Jose Mallea and Agueda Lecertua.  His father was in the Spanish army in the Philippines, fought with the cavalry in Cuba, and worked in an American lumber mill before returning to Euskadi to marry.  All seven children were born in the US, and moved from ranches to town when Jose began a trucking business.  John relates what it meant to be a Basque born in America: his parents rarely spoke of their homeland and even communicated in English to ease the children's integration, many ethnic groups in one area would get along well together, and the Mallea family enjoyed music and dancing in various Basque boarding houses.

John worked in the sheep industry for close to 6 years, then in an auto garage for 8, tried his hand at mining, trucked a it, and finally bought and ran a general store in Jordan Valley until his retirement.  John describes in great detail the work that went into running a large store during hard financial times.  He married high school sweetheart Annabel Gluch in 1938.  The couple raised 4 children, who have struggled to get involved with their heritage.

With no relatives in the Basque country, John never took a trip there, although he still appreciates his Basque ancestry and enjoys speaking Euskera with friends whenever he gets the chance.  He has many Basque friends, and even Annabel tried to learn a little Basque from a neighbor!

Audio Recording: 
Born on the Road to Delamar
Speaking Basque
Different Dialects
Other Images: