John Etchamendy entered into New Life on February 5, 2019, just 2 months shy of his 50th wedding anniversary. John was surrounded by his wife Judy and daughters Gayle and Lynn. The world has lost one of its sweetest, most gentle souls. John was a lover of life and when asked, “How are you?” would often answer, “If I was any better, I’d be twins!”
Jean Batiste Etchamendy (his given name) came into the world on December 1, 1940 in Gardnerville, Nevada, the first of two sons born to Marie and Jean Etchamendy. When John was 5 years old, his family moved to the Basque Pyrenees, the homeland of his parents. They lived there for 18 months, returning to what would become their forever home in Gardnerville. John was a proud graduate of Douglas High School and attended many of his reunions joining his lifelong friends. He was very proud of his Basque heritage and the night before his last surgery, shared a big Basque meal at the JT with his family, speaking Basque to the wait staff and owners, who knew him well. John was also a ham radio operator for years, using the call sign WA7ZZZ.
John met his wife, Judy Epidendio when they both worked for the same company. Judy was in charge of petty cash and John would always find an excuse to “need” some petty cash. After their first date, Jude told her roommate that she found the man she was going to be with forever and they were married 6 months later on April 12, 1969.
Along with his loving wife Jude, aka “the boss”, John leaves behind his two daughters, Gayle Etchamendy of Carson City and Lynn Gavia of Elk Grove, CA. He was cherished by his younger brother, Pete and sister-in-law Jeannie Etchamendy of Cove, Oregon and was lovingly known as Bakka to his grandsons – Jesse Weathers of Carson City and Gabe Gavia of Elk Grove, CA, along with his son-in-law Dave Gavia, all who will miss him tremendously. John was adored by his numerous brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law and nieces and nephews too numerous to mention. He will be missed by his buddies in his breakfast club, known as the ROMEOs – Retired Old Men Eating Out.
John was the most generous of men, whether it was giving his time – mostly fixing the computers of his various family members, or his charity – for numerous non-profits and down-on-their-luck family members. He also lovingly welcomed family members and friends to live in his home, even though they were “strays” his wife had brought home.
When his daughters were young, John went back to college and received his engineering degree. In the 70’s, John was appointed State Communications Director for the State of Nevada by Governor Mike O’Callaghan. John then went on to work for Sierra Pacific Power, Sacramento Municipal Utility District and then ended his career as a consultant. Family members say, when asked by someone what time it was, John would describe how the clock was made – a true engineer! But all his young nieces and nephews knew who to go to with a difficult question. His family is confident he is now in heaven, re-engineering the Pearly Gates! We imagine John was met at the gates by his faithful dog, Gracie, with her tail-a-waggin’!
John was a devoted member of St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community and volunteered his time as a computer teacher at St. Teresa’s School while his grandson attended there. The students loved him, as did the staff. He was also involved with Knights of Columbus and loved attending the annual St. Teresa’s Basque Festival.
A Rosary will be recited in the chapel at St. Teresa’s Catholic Community on Saturday, March 2 at 10 am, prior to the Mass. A Celebration of Life and Mass of the Resurrection will follow in the main church at St. Teresa’s Catholic Community at 11 am.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Teresa’s School, Friends in Service Helping (FISH) or Capital City Circles Initiative.