April 18, 1925 – May 8, 2020
Martina Echanis, 95, of Ontario, Oregon passed away peacefully on May 8, 2020 at Pioneer Place Assisted Living and Long-Term Care Center in Vale, Oregon.
Martina was born to Jose and Claudia Yraguen on April 18, 1925 when the family was living at the Bully Creek Ranch just outside of Vale, Oregon. She attended school in Vale until she reached the age of 15 which was the cut-off age for schooling for all of the Yraguen children.
When Martina’s Freshmen year in high school came to an end, she went on a trip to Southern California with Mary and Tony Arana to visit Lorenzo Echanis Sr. At that time, Lorenzo (Lawrence) Echanis Jr. was a senior in high school at Brea Olinda High School. Not sure if it was love at first sight, but Martina knew that she didn’t want this one to slip away. Martina and Lawrence were able to spend some time together, and that was the beginning of a long and beautiful relationship. When Martina returned to Oregon, she and Lawrence continued to stay in contact by writing letters. After enlisting in the Navy at the age of 19, Lawrence made a journey from California to Oregon to propose to Martina who was 17 years old at the time. This proposal took place in the driveway at Timmie Echanis’s house, where Martina was living at the time. According to our cousin Frank Yraguen, Lawrence never did ask permission of Jose and Claudia to marry Martina, but since he was Basque everything was OK. After 3 years of service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Lawrence returned to Ontario and married Martina on April 22, 1946.
Martina lived with her sister Timmie and her family for several years after her schooling ended in Vale. At the early age of 16, she began a 6-month apprenticeship to pursue her life-long dream of becoming a beautician. After successfully completing her apprenticeship, she attended beauty school in Portland, Oregon and lived with long-time friends Walt and Norma Flynn. Martina made money to support herself during this time by cleaning houses and doing other odd jobs. After a lot of hard work and perseverance, she passed the state board tests, and became a certified beautician. She then returned to Ontario, and started her work as a beautician at the Rose Marie Beauty Shop. Martina worked as a beautician up until the time of her son Jim’s birth, but continued to keep her license active.
Martina was an active member of the Ontario Basque Club, and was inducted into the Social Society of Basques Studies Hall of Fame on November 11, 2007 along with 5 other charter members that included her sisters Timmie Echanis and Juanita Hoff, relatives Lourana Echanis and Josephine Keim, and Grace Mainvil. In 1946, the Ontario Basque Club was started by 17 Basque women, and the men finally were allowed to join the club in 1994. The goal of the Basque Club was to preserve Basque Culture, teach children Basque songs and dances, and to raise money for charity. Their efforts have helped to make the Ontario Basque Club what it is today. Martina was especially known for her ability to sell raffle tickets for the annual Ontario Basque Dinner and Dance. She was always the top raffle ticket seller, and wouldn’t take “No” for an answer. She was quite the salesperson.
Martina loved music and dancing, a good party, and her family. She and Lawrence rarely missed a weekend of dancing and high balls at the Ontario Elks Lodge. She enjoyed watching the Lawrence Welk Show every Saturday night, and listening to the music of her favorites George Straight and Perry Como. Martina kept on singing and dancing right to the end.
Martina is survived by her sons, Jim (Mary) Echanis of Ontario, OR, Mike (Dawn) Echanis of Pocatello, ID, Pat (Janet) Echanis of Bend, OR, her daughter, Tina Madarieta of Tualatin, OR, and sister-in-law Babe Yraguen of Vale, OR. She is also survived by 7 grandchildren, and 9 great grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her husband, Lawrence Echanis, infant son, Larry Echanis, her parents Jose and Claudia Yraguen, her brothers Epifanio Yraguen, Bonifacio Yraguen, and Joe Yraguen, and her sisters Timotea Echanis, Juanita Hoff, Mary Arana, and Carmen Hagen.
Due to the restrictions on COVID-19, there will not be a traditional rosary or funeral. The family has chosen to do a small blessing and burial service with the immediate family, and will have a Celebration of Life later when it is safe for people to gather in larger groups.
The family would like to thank the staff at Pioneer Place Assisted Living and Long-Term Care Center for the loving care that they have given our mom during the last chapter of her life. The family would also like to thank Dr. Smith for being her trusted doctor for a good part of her adult life.
In lieu of sending flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Ontario Basque Club, P.O. Box 1233, Ontario, OR 97914
Arrangements are under the direction of the Nampa Funeral Home, Yraguen Chapel where an online guest book is available at www.nampafuneralhome.com
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