Marcuerquiaga, Patxi

Mikel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Boise, ID
Interview Date: 

Patxi was born in Ispaster, Bizkaia in September 1928 to Damaso Marcuerquiaga and Apolonia Egaina.  Both of his parents worked on their baserri, Kurtzia, where they raised animals and produce both for the family and to sell in Lekeitio.  Patxi's school house stood between Ispaster and Lekeitio.  His father and neighbors built the school for their children.  Patxi finished school at the age of 12, but had to miss school while the Spanish Civil War raged around Ispaster.

At 16 Patxi went to work at the Eiguren sawmill in Lekeitio.  He held a job there for the next ten years, breaking only to complete his service in the Spanish Army.  His father, who had been a ranch hand in Nevada, told Patxi what the United States was like.  Seven of Patxi's uncles had settled in Nevada, Idaho and Oregon, and the latter offered him a job at his sheep ranch.  He accepted, but had to wait three years for the paperwork to come through.  Leaving for the United States became more difficult on Patxi's 23rd birthday, when he met Cirila Armaolea at a festival in Lekeitio.

In 1957, making a difficult decision, Patxi left his wife and infant daughter to move to Enterprise, Oregon.  Over the next eight years, he worked and waited for eligibility for his US citizenship.  He moved to Lovelock, Nevada, became a citizen, and sent for his family.  They arrived on Christmas Eve 1965.  Patxi found work with the Nevada Nile and Supplement Ranches, and later for Rochester Mines, where he retired in 2000.  Committed to maintaining the Basque language and culture in their home, Patxi and Cirila taught their children Basque and drove to Basque festivals in Winnemucca, Boise, Reno, and Elko.

Audio Recording: 
Bringing family
"Dogs don't wear shoes"
Other Images: