Jerome E. Etchegoyhen
August 15, 2017
Our father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend to all died in his sleep early August 15, 2017. Jerome was born to Basque, immigrant parents on August 17, 1928, and raised in Winnemucca. He excelled in his schoolwork, as well as all the sports he participated in. His early life coincided with the Great Depression, and like so many its shadow stayed with him forever. He would tell stories about growing up in a small hotel/restaurant, the Busch Hotel in Winnemucca, and how he vaguely recalled the family barely escaping the fire that burned it to the ground on Christmas Eve, 1933. His mother died a couple years later. Jerome graduated as valedictorian of his Humboldt High School class, and though he received a college scholarship from Reno’s Harold’s Club, he knew it would only cover one year. Instead, he enlisted in the Navy with the sole goal of getting the assistance of the GI Bill to complete college. At the University of Nevada, Reno, he lettered for four years in Track under the tutelage of Jake Lawlor, and was inducted into the UNR Sports Hall of Fame. At UNR he met the love of his life, Sharon Kathleen McPartland. After graduation they made their home in Winnemucca, where he taught math and coached many sports, including his favorite, basketball. In 1958 his team finished third in the Nevada State Basketball Championship, and beat Reno High to win it the two consecutive years after. He often told the story of driving the team in a tiny bus to Las Vegas for the tournament, and they stopped to spend the night in a hotel about halfway. The owner turned them away, as the team included an African American. Dad drove them on to Las Vegas, and with no sleep they won the state championship. Mom always called that time the “Hoosier” years. Dad was offered the job to become the principal of Douglas High School in 1961, and made his home in Minden for the next 56 years. He returned to UNR to get his Masters Degree. Jerome was an active member for many years at the St Gall Catholic Church. With six children he was always doing extra work, including driving a school bus if someone called in sick. As principal he also taught at least one mathematics class, and tutored many folks years after. His educational career ended in 1983, and for the next 20 years he was a successful real estate broker. Jerome also served on the MGSD Board for more than 30 years, many of those as chairman. Jerome loved family and friend gatherings, almost always including great food. His Basque clams and tongue stew were legendary, and will be replicated often. His morning routine, until an inoperable brain tumor precluded it, was coffee and solving new calculus problems. It was impossible to go anywhere in Nevada where he didn’t know someone, and he was truly beloved. Your kind eyes, smile, hearty laugh, and unconditional love will be forever missed.
Jerome Sr. was preceded in death by his wife, Sharon, daughter Vicky (Jon), sisters, Stella Mendieta, Juanita Gabica, Norma Schwartz, and Annie Burhans. He is survived by his daughters, Dion Etchegoyhen and Katie Etchegoyhen Park (David), sons, Jerome Jr (Sue), Paul (Kathleen), and Jacques (Cris), eleven grandchildren, sixteen great-grandchildren, one great-grandchild on the way, sister, Ethyl Hornbarger and brother Tom.
In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to the Vicky Etchegoyhen Yaple Memorial Scholarship Fund at Western Nevada College http://www.wnc.edu/foundation/ Mass and a Celebration of Life will be held Friday, September 15, 2017, at St. Galls Catholic Church in Gardnerville at 2:00pm. Reception to follow in the Pastoral Community Center next door.