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Gus Arriola, 92, of Boise, took his last daily walk around his beloved neighborhood on September 11th, 2016 and died in his home from a well used but worn out heart.
Born in 1924 to Basque immigrants Felipe and Agustina Arriola, he was given the birth name of Jacinto Domingo Arriola. However, he was called "Gus" from early childhood and was known only as Gus for the rest of his life.
The youngest of four children, he was born near what is now the Basque Center in downtown Boise, but spent his entire life living within a five- mile radius of south Boise. He loved to reminisce about the advantages of being the youngest and not having to do many of the chores left to his older siblings. His most painful childhood experience, he said, was when his sister Joan hit him in the head with a hammer. Gus kiddingly blamed his subsequent lifelong "weirdness" on that single incident.
The Arriola family lived in a simple, but loving farmhouse with no electricity until 1937. Like many families at that time, clothes were homemade as were the meals each day, often from the garden and livestock the family maintained. Neighbors shared what they had and the Arriola family was no exception. Although money was tight, a rare treat was a having enough change for a Saturday movie or a few pennies left over for a piece of store bought candy. Otherwise, for recreation, the Boise River and the many open fields of South Boise provided a great place to grow up for Gus.
Proud to be a Garfield Grizzly to his last breath, Gus attended Garfield Elementary School, North Junior High and graduated from Boise High in 1942. After an honorable military discharge because of an arm broken playing high school football and never properly set, Gus began his thirty- nine year career as a mechanic for Idaho Power Company. He often spoke about the generosity of Idaho Power not only to him, but also to his family and very much enjoyed staying connected to his old work buddies his entire adult life.
Gus had a passion for all things mechanical. Known as someone who loved to take things apart, his passion for old cars began in his childhood, with the family inheritance of a 1935 Ford 4-door Sedan.
After retirement, Gus could be seen driving the streets of Boise in his old 1929 Model A dressed in his signature blue jeans and blue hatů even as recently as two weeks ago. Although his kids had TRIED to discourage him from driving altogether this past year, his stubborn compromise was to avoid any street with stop signs and signal lights and staying on routine routes. It was amazing how he figured out those routes, often driving out of his way to avoid having to stop or watch for busy traffic.
He also built "The Little Car," in 1959 for the family with many neighborhood kids also learning how to drive with its 3 speed transmission and top cruising speed of about 18 MPH. That car is still in the family and is often shown in local car shows.
Gus was known to be the "go to guy" when anyone had a car issue. Later, he loved to get involved with anything that needed to be fixed or at least offer his opinion. He loved being "part of the action."
Gus also had a genuine love for kids and animals. They migrated to him with an ease and trust that was very special. Known to many in his neighborhood and extended family as "Grampa" or "Gramps," his irrigation ditch provided a fun experience for dogs and toddlers alike. His squirrels, quail and neighborhood cats will miss their daily feedings and conversation with hm.
Gus could always be seen attending the sporting events of his kids and grandkids, great grandkids, friends and relatives. Although his very vocal opinion over coaching or officiating sometimes created angst and embarrassment for the kids, they always knew he was there supporting them.
Married and divorced, Gus was a devoted father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, and friend. His last few years were spent enjoying the company of his family and friends, especially his beloved Sister Joann. He died a happy, loved and peaceful man and is greatly missed already.
He is survived by his sister, Joan Prickett of Boise; a son, Dan Arriola of Caldwell; and a daughter, Shannon Arriola of Phoenix, AZ; three Grandchildren, Alyssa Fairfield of Phoenix; Carl and Matt Arriola of Boise; Nieces Marilyn Giacalone of Middleton, Tina Todd of Midland, MI, and Jay Prickett of Boise. In addition, Gus enjoyed the company of his several great grandchildren especially sharing time with Andy Jozwik, Brooklyn and "Little" Gus Arriola. An additional great grandson will join the family in March of 2017. We are saddened that he will not meet his amazing great Grandpa.
His parents, Felipe and Agustina, a brother Henero "Hank" Arriola and a sister Marce Gerlach, and two adopted sons, Mike and Gary Arriola, precede him in death.
His remains will be cremated and placed at the family plot in a private ceremony.
An open house celebration for Gus will be held Sunday, September 25th from 1:00- 4:00 at the Basque Museum and Cultural Center at 611 Grove Street, Boise. We ask that all who would like to hear and share stories about Gus join the family at 1:00 pm. An informal catered lunch will begin at 2:00 pm.
In honor of Gus's signature blue-jeans and slightly soiled white t-shirt, similar dress is lovingly encouraged.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Basque Museum and Cultural Center, which provided years of enjoyment to Gus and his family or to the charity of your choice.
1200 N Cloverdale Road Boise, ID 83713
Tel. (208) 375-2212