On Tuesday, October 9th, 2018, Jean Baptiste Gaztambide, husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend to many, passed away in the comfort of his home in Murray, Utah.
Jean was born on December 22nd, 1929 in Arnéguy, Basse-Navarre, France to Gratiane Auzqui and Michel Gaztambide. He grew up with three brothers and two sisters, Bernard, Antoine, François, Marie-Louise, and Jeane, nestled within the green valleys of the Pyrenees Mountains on a traditional Basque farm.
At 19 years old in 1949, Jean immigrated to the United States to pursue work as a sheepherder in southern Wyoming. He later went on to become a carpenter, like his father before him, and a contractor, building homes and office buildings throughout the Salt Lake Valley. He met the love of his life and wife of 57 years, Mary Urresti, at the Basque Hogar Hotel and Boarding House in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. Jean built his family a home in Murray, Utah, where they raised their children and lived until his passing. Like the Hogar Hotel, Jean’s family home would become the cultural center of the Basque community in Utah, and he often enjoyed hosting parties for his family and friends. He was fiercely dedicated to preserving his Basque culture and that dedication survives in his children, grandchildren, and friends in the Basque Club of Utah. Jean was an avid card player, and especially loved to play Mus (Basque poker) with his family and friends in Salt Lake and at Basque picnics across the western United States. He also enjoyed water skiing (even though he couldn’t swim), fishing, hunting, and snowmobiling – traditions that his family will carry forward in his memory.
Jean is survived by his wife, Mary, children Denise (Mary), Danny (Brooke), and Marc (Josette), his grandchildren Mikel, Madeleine, Danielle, and Marcel, his brother Antoine, and his sister, Marie-Louise. He is preceded in death by his brothers Bernard and François and his sister Jeane.
The family would like to thank Inspiration Hospice and Elizabeth Aguilar who provided warmth, care, and companionship near the end of his life.
A memorial mass will be celebrated Thursday, October 18th, 11 a.m., at St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church, 1375 Spring Ln, Salt Lake City, UT 84117 with a reception to follow. A celebration of life will be scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Basque Club of Utah, c/o Catherine Barajas, 2323 Green St., SLC, UT 84106.