Mary Teresa Gaztambide
On Thursday, October 14th, 2021, Mary Teresa Gaztambide, wife, mother, grandmother (amatxi), sister, and friend to many, passed away peacefully at St. Joseph Villa in Salt Lake City, UT.
Mary was born on January 25th, 1935 on Stormy Canyon Ranch, north of Wells, Nevada, to Manuel and Maria Urresti of Elantxobe, Bizkaia - a province in the Basque region of Spain. She grew up on the ranch with her siblings, Jess and Josephine, before moving to Salt Lake City at 18 years old to study accounting at Bates College. She worked as a translator for Spanish and Basque immigrants at the Basque Hogar Hotel and Boarding House in downtown Salt Lake City and as an accountant for the County Assessor’s Office for almost a decade. She met her husband, Jean-Baptiste Gaztambide (an immigrant sheepherder and carpenter) while living at the Hogar, and they married in 1961. They built a house together in Murray, Utah, along the banks of Big Cottonwood Creek, where they raised a family and spent their weekends boating, hunting, snowmobiling, and traveling to Basque festivals all across the United States.
Like the Hogar Hotel, Mary and Jean’s family home would become the cultural center of the Basque community in Utah, and Mary most enjoyed cooking and entertaining for her family and many friends. A daughter of immigrants, she is remembered for her tenacity and for her boundless love for her family and her Basque heritage. She served as president and founding member of her local Utah Basque Club, and as both president (5 years) and vice-president (8 years) of North American Basque Organizations, Inc. (NABO). In 2012, she was awarded the Bizki Emankorra (Life Achievement) Award for her invaluable contributions to the preservation and advancement of Basque culture in the United States. This dedication survives in her children, grandchildren, friends in the Basque Club of Utah, the great community of NABO, and the global Basque diaspora.
Mary is survived by her beloved children, Danny (Brooke), Denise (Mary), and Marc (Josette), her grandchildren, Mikel, Madeleine, Danielle, and Marcel (Bria), and many extended family members. She is preceded in death by her husband, Jean-Baptiste, her sister, Josephine Cassingham, her brother, Jess Urresti, and her family Angie McKinnon and Tiffany Urresti.
Mary’s family would like to thank Elizabeth Aguilar, Wendy Acevedo, Inspiration Hospice, the staff of St. Joseph Villa, and the Huntsman Cancer Institute, who assisted the family in providing warmth, care, and companionship near the end of her life.
A rosary will be on Friday, October 29, 2021 at 10:30 am at St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church, 1375 Spring Lane, Salt Lake City, Utah 84117, followed by a funeral mass at 11:00 am with a reception to follow. If planning to attend, the family kindly asks that you bring a mask for the indoor gatherings. Please also refrain from attending if you are sick or have been recently exposed to Covid-19.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Basque Club of Utah, c/o Catherine Barajas, 2323 Green St., SLC, UT 84106 or to the Huntsman Cancer Institute.