Odiaga, John

Mikel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Boise, Idaho
Interview Date: 

John Odiaga was born in Boise on 29 September 1917, to Jose Luis "Joseph" Odiaga and Juana Mendasona, originally from Amoroto and Ispaster, Bizkaia.  He recalls in great detail the story of his parents' immigrations to America.  John spoke only Basque with his family until the age of six, and although he had many Basque friends as a child, other ethnic groups provided playmates as well.  He had a very precocious youth!  A good student throughout his school years, John also had to work two jobs, and was later one of the first people in Boise to be drafted.

Since he was always very wise with his income, John was soon able to invest in various business ventures across Boise, including several grocery stores and real estate developments.  He married Isabel Bilbao in 1943, and the couple has raised four children.  The family lives in a heavily Basque subdivision, and so cultural activities like picnics and dances have been a part of growing up in Idaho.

Today, John enjoys visiting with friends at the Basque Center in Boise--he was an early member of this organization, and instrumental in organizing the land purchase from the Uberuaga boarding house.  He is a proud member of the Basque community here.

Audio Recording: 
Learning English
Childhood in Boise
Courting Isabel
Other Images: