Gilbert Dominique Ayarbe, who has died age 85, was a teacher, surveyor, Army veteran, brother, uncle, husband, father and grandfather, known by friends and family for his love of learning, dedication to his community and uncompromising ideals.
He was born to Basque immigrants Grace and Pete Ayarbe on October 25, 1926. He grew up on a ranch in "Deep Crick," Eastern Nevada, later moving to Ely. He joined the army in 1944 where he trained as a parachuter. He served in Japan as a peace keeper after World War II. After leaving the army, he lived in Alaska, working for the Alaska Road Commission. He also lived in Durango, Colorado and Utah where he finished his math and teaching degree at the University of Utah.
He moved to Elko, Nevada to teach. There he met his wife, Twylah. They were married on June 8, 1968. They moved to Carson City in 1970. Gilbert taught at Whittell High School in Tahoe for several years. On August 20, 1979, he was hired by Western Nevada Community College and went on to teach math, computers, surveying, and AutoCAD until he retired after 27 years of teaching. After retirement he continued to teach part time for WNCC until 1997.
In Carson City, Ayarbe was an active member of the American Legion, spent years in Toast Masters, and was instrumental in putting the American Flag on C-Hill. His granddaughters call it, "Grandpa's flag."
He spent countless afternoons watching his daughters play softball. He attended piano recitals and orchestrated calculus study sessions. After retirement, he and Twylah traveled around the world. Then he earned the title of Best Grandpa Ever, enjoying every second he had with his four granddaughters.
He devoured biographies and loved politics, science, math, physics, never losing his sense of wonder and insisting his family didn't either. He always reached out a hand for someone who needed it and lived everyday life in an extraordinary way.
Gilbert Ayarbe died August 19, 2012 surrounded by family. He is survived by his wife, Twylah; daughters, Carrie Ayarbe Fields and Heidi Ayarbe; sons in law, Rick Fields and Cesar Giraldo; granddaughters, Sydney and Kyra Fields and Amelia and Elisa Giraldo Ayarbe; brothers Joe Ayarbe and Jean Ayarbe; and nieces and nephews Joseph Lynn Ayarbe, Susan Ayarbe Skeffington, Karen Ayarbe Pintar, John Ayarbe and Elizabeth Ayarbe-Perez.
There will be a celebration of Gilbert Ayarbe's life on August 30, 2012 at 10:00 am at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church. The family is supporting the Western Nevada College Foundation and the Veteran's Guest House in Gilbert Ayarbe's honor.
Arrangements entrusted to Walton's Chapel of the Valley
Donations can be sent to: Western Nevada College Foundation, Bristlecone Building 147, 2201 West College Parkway, Carson City, NV 89703 Phone 775-445-3239
or Veteran's Guest House, 880 Locust Street, Reno, NV 89502. Phone 775-324-6958