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Rachel Larrinaga

1935 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Rachel Larrinaga Obituary
1935 ~ 2018
Rachel (Etxebarria-Zarraga Bilbao), 82, died peacefully at home, finally free from pain, on Tuesday morning, February 20, 2018 in the loving care of her family after a brief struggle with bone cancer. She leaves behind her five children: Connie Larrinaga-Pope (Rick), Raphael Larrinaga (Christine), Daniel Larrinaga, Stacey Larrinaga, and Theresa Ferraro (Guy), as well as her six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She is survived by her siblings in Spain: Begoña, Pilar, Maria Nieves (Ramon), Jose Angel (Gloria), Luis Maria (Palmira) and Marissa, along with six nieces and nephews.

Rachel was born and raised in Forua, in the Bizkaia province of the Basque Country in Spain. She came to the United States and settled in Utah in 1960 where, under extremely difficult circumstances, she raised her kids with intense devotion, love and incredible selflessness. Her acts of constant sacrifice were always for her kids. Always. She then went on to help raise her grandchildren while managing a full-time job as a laboratory technician until her retirement. She was a strong, proud, determined woman who often went without for the sake of others. Her energy, independence, resourcefulness, generosity and love of family was boundless.

At the same time, she never forgot her family and connection to Spain and the Basque Country. When she wasn't on the phone speaking in Basque with her brothers and sisters, she was scrimping and saving every penny to afford a flight to the old country as often as possible, allowing her to maintain her love and friendship with them throughout the years. She also never lost her connection to food and fashion. An amazing cook, she was at home in the kitchen. A thrifty alchemist who made nothing into something delicious while recreating traditional Basque foods time and time again with only her memory and heart to guide her. And aside from her thick accent, her influence from Spain was expressed in her determination to stay fashionable and look sharp, always on the lookout for a good bargain. Heaven forbid she should choose comfort over fashion. She would never been seen anywhere without her high-heeled shoes…all the way to the end.

Finally, in addition to her devotion to family, she was a devout Catholic with an unwavering love and faith in God and the Church. Her heart belonged to the Sacred Heart parish in Salt Lake City where she was always there to provide support in any way she could. And it was at Sacred Heart that she developed a close friendship with her pastor, Father Silva, and previously, with Father Yarce and a small group of parishioners who would make her last years the happiest, spending countless outings, including trips to Wendover (her guilty pleasure), a day-trip to the mountains, or a simple cup of coffee and a quick bite somewhere close by. When someone would see the group and ask, "What's the celebration?" Rachel and the others would look up and reply, "Life!"

Through the tough years and the good ones, she had no regrets and was proud of her accomplishments and her service. Hers was a life filled with family, friends from the Basque community and church, and happy days in her final years. She came in strong and went out fast. We are all at a loss at her sudden departure, and are filled with a deep sorrow for and a deep love of a most wonderful mother, grandmother and friend. We celebrate the gift of Rachel in our lives. Proof of heaven. Proof of God's love.

A funeral mass will be celebrated Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 174 East 900 South. A vigil service will be held Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. also at the church, where friends may call from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Committal, Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery, 4th Avenue and T Street. Funeral Directors, Neil O'Donnell and Sons.

What are we celebrating? Life!
Published in Salt Lake Tribune from Feb. 23 to Feb. 25, 2018
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