John A. Elorriaga
1923 - 2020
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John A. Elorriaga
Oct. 20, 1923 - Feb. 20, 2020
John Elorriaga, our beloved husband, father, mentor and friend, described his life in two words: abundantly blessed. He was shaped by his Basque heritage, abiding Catholic faith and deep love for family. He passed away at the age of 96 Feb. 20, 2020.
Born to Basque immigrants Ambrose and Maria Elorriaga Oct. 20, 1923, John grew up in Jordan Valley, Ore., surrounded by family, love and the discipline of hard work. As part of a tight-knit Basque community, he learned the importance of doing what you could to help other people. He embraced this lesson and lived it for the rest of his life.
Following high school, he worked for Boeing Aircraft and built planes to help support his family. He joined the Army Air Force in 1944, serving in Germany as a glider mechanic. After the war, he started at Boise Junior College (now Boise State University) and finished his degree at the University of Oregon.
He took his first job at U.S. National Bank of Oregon in 1951, joining the bank's executive trainee program. He often joked that the bank not only started his career, but it found him a wife. He and fellow employee Lois Newman married in June 1952. They left the bank and made their way to Pittsburgh, where John earned his MBA.
Upon their return to Portland, he came back to U.S. Bank and began to grow his career. John and Lois settled down and expanded their family to include six children. To supplement his banker's salary, John took on extra jobs including working retail at J.C. Penney and teaching classes at PSU, Multnomah College and the American Institute of Banking.
With an itch to try the business world, John shifted gears in 1966, leaving the bank to work for Evans Products. From Evans he went to Rader Pneumatics and then to Columbia Corporation, each time learning more about what it takes to run a company. He wanted to understand business and banking from the customer side and came away with a great education in problem-solving and management.
More change came in the 1970's, when John returned to U.S. Bank, this time as bank president. He was ready and felt his time away helped him understand what customers wanted and how to run the bank. He also wanted to better meet employee needs. He now understood that if you take care of your people, they take care of you, so he initiated new policies and programs to support employees. He retired in 1987, but remained on the U.S. Bank Advisory Council well into his 90's and continued to champion community and mentor business big and small.
John was also an entrepreneurial businessman and investor, at various times owning interests in the Crater Lake Lodge concession, Gateway Porsche/Audi and, after retiring from the bank, Shari's Restaurants, which more than doubled in size during his ownership. He also actively invested in commercial real estate in Oregon, Washington and Arizona.
He was humble and fair, always positive and ready with a joke or song from his youth. He and Lois enjoyed a long, caring relationship for 68 years. He himself said that all he ever wanted was a healthy, beautiful and loving family, and that has been his greatest accomplishment.
He was predeceased by his parents; sisters, Amalia, Carmen and Pilar; and son, John Michael. He is survived by his sons, Dana (Eileen) Elorriaga, Steve (Sally) Elorriaga; and daughters, Sharon (Mike) Nugent, Linda (Craig) Sweitzer and Lisa Elorriaga. He is also survived by grandchildren, Megan Nugent, Laura (Dave) Light, Danny and Patrick Nugent; John, Jeff, Anne and Brooke Elorriaga, Christopher, Katharine and Elizabeth Elorriaga, Jack and Maria Sweitzer, Enzo and Maximilian Czysz; and great-grandson, Griffin Light.
A service will be held at 12 p.m., March 6, 2020, at St. Mary's Cathedral. Reception to follow at Waverley Country Club. In lieu of flowers, the family requests condolences to Providence Cancer Institute in the name of John Michael Elorriaga.
Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits

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Published in The Oregonian from Feb. 25 to Mar. 1, 2020.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
MAR
6
Service
12:00 PM
St. Mary's Cathedral
MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
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33 entries
March 11, 2020
My condolences to the Elorriaga family members, as I reflect on John's generosity, especially to St. Mary's Academy and to Marylhurst College, where I taught writing and literature.
Blessings unlimited for him because of his dedication to learning and his love for life!
Joan Maiers
March 10, 2020
There are not enough words to express my sympathy for the passing of John Elorriaga My condolences to all of his family. John always had a way of making me feel like I was family and that was just a small part of his beautiful soul. His smile and charismatic personality made everyone feel they were family. He made everyone feel they were special! But the truth of the matter was ~ John was the special one. I will miss his outstretched arms greeting me with a hug, and his boisterous voice saying Theres my girl when we would sit in his office in Big Pink or head out to lunch in Portland. The Elorriaga family were blessed to have such a charming and caring man in their lives. But the stories John shared with me were spoken by a man who felt deeply proud and blessed to have such a wonderful family. Prayers to Johns family for the pain you must be feeling. But Johns love for all of you lives on. His golf game continues and is improving on the heavenly greens above. I know he is making all his previous departed friends in heaven smile with his laughter, his jokes, and his quick wit. John was a man larger than life itself. I was honored to know him and to have spent time with him sharing stories of his family, his life and his career. I first met John through attorneys I had the honor to work with, namely Walt Hinson and Bert Butler. However I was later reintroduced to John by LeRoy Staver as to what I thought I heard was Johnny. Much to my chagrin I learned over the years that Roy Staver was actually calling him John E since the 33rd floor of US Bank Had name current and past executives named John (namely John Eskildsen John Rickman, and John Jack Mills, among a few). Oh how John loved to tease me over the years about that! He was a brilliant and thoughtful man, and his laughter was infectious. Thanks for the memories John E~ I still carry them with me even after all these years.
CLAUDIA ALLEN
Friend
March 6, 2020
I'm so sorry for your loss. Prayers and hugs.
Emily Loftgren
March 5, 2020
I don't know how many times over my working years, I'd say I work for U.S. Bank and the response would be "John Elorriaga's bank" John was synonymous with U. S. Bank for his entire career and even after he retired! He was a leader that all employees admired and appreciated! He loved making the rounds at the bank to greet employees.

Linda and I send our condolences to John's wonderful family and are keeping them in our prayers and thoughts.

John & Linda Eskildsen
March 4, 2020
My prayers go to all the family and will always cherish all the great times up on the deschutes river with John and other places
Mike Corbett
Friend
March 4, 2020
John was a wonderful husband, proud father, great leader, the best banker I have ever met and devoted Oregonian. Truly an amazing man who made me a person by knowing him.
Joseph Otting
March 3, 2020
John was a great leader for US Bancorp. Always supportive of his people and a strong mentor to me. I couldn't of had a better role model to follow as a banker and Catholic family man. God bless John and his family>
John Rickman
March 2, 2020
John Elorriaga sounded like nothing short of a great human being and a caring man. My condolences to his family and everyone's lives who were impacted positively by knowing him.
Chris Pulley
March 2, 2020
What an incredible human being! Always so nice to all and had a good word for everyone. The world would be a better place if everyone emulated your father. My condolences to your family and all those who loved him.
March 1, 2020
Our condolences to the entire Elorriaga family. Mr. Elorriaga was a remarkable man and will be greatly missed. He and the family are in our prayers.
Karl and Katherine Spielmann
March 1, 2020
I worked at US Bank right out of high school in the Student Loan Department. Mr. Elorriaga spoke from the mezzanine one year around Christmas time and his speech really touched my heart. He had that twinkle in his eye and was a person I really looked up to. I never spoke to him in person, but he made a lasting impression on me.
Patti Gilbert
February 29, 2020
Warmest thoughts to the extended Elorriaga family. John was a thoughtful and caring leader. Many memories as a USBank employee, but my greatest was when I was navigating our car home along the Gorge in a driving rainstorm from a bank branch opening in Ontario. At one point, John leaned forward from the back seat and asked what time I thought we'd be home. He responded: "Great. I just want to make it to my son's Jesuit HS basketball game." We made it. He had his priorities just right. A fine man. Godspeed.
Bob Knoll, Portland
February 28, 2020
I worked at US Bank for 41 years, I remember Mr. Elorriaga very well, and was proud of his accomplishments and direction he lead the Bank, I am truly sorry for your loss, he was an outstanding man.
Cindy Norwood
February 28, 2020
A gentleman, we will miss him.
Stuart Lindquist
February 27, 2020
Both Rose Ellen and Bill Long worked for John at U.S. Bank. He was an excellent mentor and a wonderful person to have had in our lives.
February 27, 2020
My condolences to the family. Have always respected John Elorriaga's leadership of U.S. Bank.
Carolyn Osten
February 27, 2020
Such an incredible leader making every single person he encountered feel important and valued. We've lost a true icon.
MarcIa Kakiuchi
February 27, 2020
John was President and CEO in 1983 when I first started at US Bank. He was always friendly and said "hello" when we would meet in the lobby or elevator. He will be missed. Condolences to his family.

Wendi
Wendi Bilka
February 27, 2020
John, You were a wonderful person and a great friend, it always enlightened my day when our paths crossed. The kind words and good wishes you always left me with were wonderful.

I will miss the fun we had in Chico California, and we didn't get to have that lunch we always talked about. I will miss that forever.

It was a great the time when I painted your house for you, was one of my funniest projects ever in seeing you each time I came and checked on my crews.

You rest in peace, we have lost a wonderful friend.
john krieg
February 26, 2020
I worked at US Bank when John came back as President. My initial introduction to him occurred when, one day, I was having lunch in the employee lunch room and John suddenly appeared, lunch tray in hand, and asked if he could sit down at my table. I'm not sure that I even knew who he was at that time but previously the top senior officers of the bank NEVER ate in the employee lunch room. We ended up talking about different facets of the bank from service levels to questions on how did I like my job. I can't tell you how impressed I was about him and his clear concerns for "his" employees. Later I left the bank for private business and carried with me concerns for my employees first. It has worked very well and I believe that I certainly owe part of my success to John. He was terrific!
Bill Allred
Bill Allred
February 26, 2020
As I coached John's grandson at Jesuit, I remember the pride and joy John had whenever he saw his grandson, John, play football and basketball. It was an honor to be around the Elorriaga family and see the love and passion they had and have for one another.
Ken Potter
February 26, 2020
There are too many memories to list from Sundays at St. Elizabeth's church, our family trip to Hawaii, my first summer job in high school at US Bank (and he came to see me at my desk), my wedding, many times at PGC growing up (etc). He always had an open door for me and I loved him. My heart goes out to his family and I will keep them in my prayers during this difficult transition in their lives. I know he will be missed. From my experience, it will get easier. All my love to Lois, Dana, Sharon, Steve, Linda & Lisa. Mary Rausch-Carlson
Mary Carlson
February 26, 2020
My memories of John at US Bank are many and inspiring. He used to make the rounds after 5:00 p.m. and if he found you, he was truly interested in what you were working on and remembered it so that the next time he saw you, he asked what happened to the things we discussed. He knew how instinctively to make you feel valued and appreciated and made you want to achieve more. Always willing to listen and discuss.

I feel fortunate to have known him as a leader and later as a neighbor who always had time to talk about interesting, timely issues.

Rest in Peace, John

Fran Matson
fran matson
February 26, 2020
My thoughts and prayers go out to the Elorriaga family.
Kyler Culp
February 26, 2020
I cherish the times I sat with Mr. Elorriaga at the MAC while he was watching Steve play in the Club Basketball League. He was engaged and proud; at the same time, very warm and friendly as we visited about many topics. He contributed much to our community and to so many lives.
"Well done good and faithful servant."
michael nealy
Friend
February 26, 2020
As a young Commercial Banker at US Bank John provided me his mentoring, leadership and sincere interest in all bank employees. John made a lasting impression on me on what a true leader is.
Jeff Aden
February 26, 2020
As a very young Commercial Banker at US Bank, John provided his guidance, mentoring, leadership and a sincere appreciation for all bank employees. John made a lasting impression on me.
Jeff Aden
February 26, 2020
My condolences to Steve and the entire family.
Gene Forsythe
Gene Forsythe
February 26, 2020
I salute Mr.John Elloriaga. I remember the years he served as Bank President. It was a pleasure to work at the bank during his tenure.

My prayer is that the Family find comfort at this time.

Thanks for sharing him with U S Bank.
Pat Dobbins
February 25, 2020
I worked at US Bank when he was the leader. He was a great man and he will be missed by many. My thoughts and prayers to the family!
Kim Hammond
February 25, 2020
It can be so hard to face the first year without your loved one, but the love of family and friends can carry you through.
Lynda Durbin
February 25, 2020
So many wonderful memories of this great man. First assignment at U.S. Bank was to write a speech for John to give at the Portland Lyons Club in 1973. It was a study in a bank that survived many challenges and John brought us many more challenges at the CEO. Opening branches all over Oregon and then moving across the Columbia River to Washington and on to several other states. It was a real thrill to be involved with such a dynamic organization run by none other than John A. Eloriagga. I will never forget working with him.
Don Bowler
February 25, 2020
A great man in every respect and by any definition.
Mike Peyton
Friend
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